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1915, 1916, 1917 

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The Noonday Meal 


1915, 1916, 1917 








Copyright, 1917 


Ool.k.l -Ta] 1 r 
May 5 1926 


This little book contains a short summary 
of my own impressions of Roumania and the 
Roumanian people as chronicled for private 
interest during the several months I spent in 
the country previous to its entry into the war, 
supplemented by regular letters subsequently 
received from friends who remained to work 
there when circumstances had obliged me to 
return to England. To these latter I have 
added nothing of my own imaginings and 
omitted little of the original text. Only the 
form and mode of presentation are mine, but 
I found it easier, for the sake of making of 
the whole a consecutive narrative, to hold to 
the original diary form. 

The idea of publication was only born in 
me when I realised how very little is known 
by the general public of all that one of our 
Allies has suffered of tragedy during the war. 
I submit the narrative most tentatively, with 
the hope that it is not altogether deficient. 



I am indebted to Comte Etienne de Beau- 
mont and Major Arion for the photographs 
which appear in these pages. Were it not 
for their kindness I should have indeed been 
at a loss, for topical photographs of any kind 
emanating from Eoumania are practically un- 



THE NOONDAY MEAL Frontispiece 




















September 1915. — I do not know quite what 
it was that brought us to Roumania. The 
war had been going on for over a year — per- 
haps that was the reason. There is, in every 
human being, a wild wish to get away, even 
if only for a time, from the place where he 
happens to be. And there was nothing, now, 
to hold us in England. 

The journey was interesting. It promised, 
at the outset, almost insuperable difficulties. 
We left London with a party, all bound for 
Bucarest, all armed with every form of lais- 
ser passer and Customs facility. The Chan- 
nel was netted from Folkestone to Boulogne, 
even in those early days, and we were es- 
corted by an airship. It sounds well to say 
"escorted," but I have a suspicion that its 
presence was accidental. Boulogne to Paris 
took seven hours, and at Paris we over- 



nighted. Having missed the connection with 
Marseilles next day, owing to a change of 
time-table, we travelled in a troop train, sit- 
ting np the whole night through in superla- 
tive discomfort. At Marseilles we were 
warned that our boat was a marked ship, as 
she carried ammunition and a French general 
and his staff bound for Salonika; also sixty 
British mechanics for the Dardanelles. How- 
ever, we decided to risk it, and the whole 
party got on board: eight people, twenty- 
four heavy trunks and twenty-six bits of 
hand-luggage. All went well as far as Malta. 
Six hours out of that port, however, we had 
an excitement : a cargo steamer that we had 
been watching with the interest which any 
rival craft invariably provokes at sea sud- 
denly seemed, at the distance of barely two 
miles, to be listing heavily, abnormally. We 
signalled to her repeatedly, obtaining no re- 
sponse whatever, and, from what we could 
see through our glasses, the boat appeared 
deserted, as did the little lifeboat bobbing up 
and down alongside of her. Suddenly she 
heeled right over, blew up and disappeared, 
and our captain frantically ordered, "Full 
steam ahead." It was presumed that the 


submarine responsible was lying in wait for 
us also, and we spent an anxious night on 
deck. Arrived at Athens we were again or- 
dered off the ship, and only the fact that we 
were to be convoyed to Salonika obtained for 
us official permission to proceed. 

In Salonika we found no room available. 
The town was crowded out and had turned 
into a Tower of Babel. The British Red 
Cross Commissioner procured us a shake- 
down where we slept, three in a room. Here 
we were informed of the Bulgarian mobilisa- 
tion and of the impossibility of proceeding, 
as had been our original intention, via Sofia. 
We were assured, however, that, could we 
but get to Nish, we would find there some 
means of going through to Bucarest via the 
Danube. Remained the problem of "getting 
to Nish, ' ' a difficult one owing to the fact that 
an important bridge on the Salonika-Nish 
railway line had broken down the day before. 
Thanks, curiously enough in the existing po- 
litical crisis, to the activities of the Bulgarian 
consul, we got off next morning on the first 
and, as was subsequently proved, the last 
train through : a most uncomfortable transit. 
We sat up for twenty-four hours in a Greek 


day-carriage, recently fumigated and smell- 
ing of the process. There was not one drop 
of water on the whole length and breadth of 
the train; in fact, from Salonika to the 
Danube we washed in Vichy water and Lano- 
line grease. Arrived at Nish we found a 
curious state of affairs: a Serbian village 
become through the misfortunes of war the 
country's capital. The Government officials 
worked in improvised shanties, the diplomats 
lived in mud huts. Our own Minister had 
been lucky enough to obtain as Legation a 
four-roomed hovel, and all the service in the 
local club was done by Austrian prisoners. 
In one of these I recognised a former waiter 
at the Carlton in London. 

We had time here to lay in a small stock of 
food. The supply was limited, as the local 
population was preparing to evacuate the 
town before the expected German invasion, 
and was as chary of parting with stock as we 
were loth to take it. I even left behind me, as 
a parting gift, a few small boxes of English 
matches, worth their weight in gold. Our un- 
pretentious, old-f ashionecl little train steamed 
out of Nish station at four o 'clock in the aft- 
ernoon. We were huddled together in two 


second-class carriages with wooden seats, lit- 
erally the best that the poor little country 
could afford. Incidentally it is worthy of 
note that our large, expensive party , travel- 
ling in a country where the population was 
destitute and the Government in as sorry a 
plight, paid not one single penny from fron- 
tier to frontier, "because we were Allies.' ' 
Thus the grand geste of a little nation! A 
miserably uncomfortable night was survived, 
after a fashion. Again there was not a drop 
of water on the train, and I will not attempt 
to describe the picture which dawn revealed 
of our unwashed and tired faces. Progress 
was of the slowest, for we were constantly 
shunted to make way for troop trains. And 
such troop trains ! Long lines of open wag- 
ons, where tired men leant against one an- 
other in the manner that leaden soldiers fall 
when a small boy piles them into his toy rail- 
way. Broken men these, who were still ban- 
daged with dirty rags from field-dressing 
stations, and who clasped worn stumps of 
rifles as if to find in them some hope of fu- 
ture retribution upon the enemy who had 
brought them so low. We passed at one mo- 
ment within a stone 's-throw of the Bulgarian 


frontier, and found massed units of these 
wearied troops resting by the roadside, wait- 
ing — for war was very near. Almost were 
we stopped at Nicoline and our train requisi- 
tioned; thanks, however, to the persuasive 
methods of the Serbian Government officials 
versus the military, we were allowed to 

Twenty-four hours after leaving Nish we 
reached the Danube, where, after infinite par- 
ley, the captain of the only steamboat run- 
ning (a Roumanian line) offered to take us 
from Prahova to Kalaf at. The latter, a small 
Roumanian port, was reached at 10 p.m. 
Here we found darkness and no possible ho- 
tel ; further, no train until the morning. We 
were literally stranded, for our captain de- 
clined to help us, and propelled the party, 
plus the voluminous luggage, gently but 
firmly landwards. He was obliged, he said, 
to make the return journey that night. A 
Heaven-sent Russian plutocrat who had been 
our fellow-traveller from Salonika took pity 
on our plight, which was also his, and char- 
tered a special to take us all to Bucarest. 
After having moved our luggage into it with 
our own hands, we finally started off at mid- 


night, having previously drunk to the Allied 
cause in bottles and bottles of beer, seated in 
a jovial row on the little Kalafat pier, whilst 
our dangling toes touched the water and 
spread ripples in the moonlight. There was 
a hot and heavy silence over the world, and 
waterfowl screamed a dirge for the dead who 
were to travel along that river towards the 
sea. For when we arrived in Bucarest next 
morning, it was to hear at the station that 
Bulgaria had declared war on Serbia over- 

So here we find ourselves to-day, successful 
travellers, a little weary, perhaps, and singu- 
larly appreciative of food and lodging, but 
proud of the fact that it was an English party 
that caught the last train and the last boat 

October 1915. — Our house is comfortable. 
It stands behind a wall and boasts a little 
garden ; the street outside is cobbled. On the 
right hand I can see the gables of a splendid 
marble palace with a pillared portico, whilst 
smelling to the left the thatch which roofs a 
workman's cottage. These are symbolical of 
Bucarest fifty years ago and of Bucarest to- 
day. It is late autumn, and a chill is in the 


air, but I have seen some wonderful sunsets. 

This is a happy little town. Everybody 
smiles, and hardly any one has anything to 
do. One long shopping street, the Calea Vic- 
toriei, winds from the Chaussee towards the 
river, and passes the Palace and the two big 
hotels; here cheerful, informal shops flaunt 
superfluities at prohibitive prices. The Rou- 
manians are all rather rich (I am speaking of 
the ones who live in cities), and love to 
dawdle here at noon, drinking "Zwicka" at 
the cafes, and lounging, men and women alike, 
against the plate-glass windows, which reflect 
both their own profiles and the silhouettes of 
passers-by. Street cabs roll smoothly here 
on rubber tyres, and the coachmen, resplen- 
dent in blue velvet and scarlet sashes, have a 
regal appearance. At first I hesitated to hail 
them, for they seemed too grand for hire, but 
soon discovered that self-respecting Rou- 
manians own motors or nothing at all. 

Life is childishly simple. We wake at 
eleven, and stroll towards the Chaussee at 
twelve. Bucarest owns several parks; two 
are pretty and one alone is fashionable. This 
latter is the Chaussee, a sort of grandchild 
of the Champs Elysees, but it leads out into 


the open country instead of towards a Bois. 
Over a bridge where the trees end and fields 
begin lies the new aviation ground. Here 
lead all roads where motors travel, and here, 
towards evening, end all Roumanian "perfect 
days. ' ' For the whole population of the town 
rides, drives and strolls there in the sunset. 
Embryo airmen loop the loop and cast weird 
shadows on hangars which gleam against the 
black earth that turns to green in spring-time. 

It is still warm and we play a lot of tennis. 
Whispers come of war, all friendly, for the 
general feeling is pro-Ally. But their tone is 
passive, and, as a nation, Roumania is still 
quite neutral. Nevertheless one hears mur- 
murs of "Our Roumania/ ' " Honour,' ' 
"Fatherland," "Ces sales Bulgares," 
' ' Those unspeakable Boches, ' ' and seeds have 
been sown that will bear their fruit. 

We are threatened with an influx of Allied 
missions evacuating Sofia. Belgrade has fal- 
len, and the Germans are streaming into 
Serbia along the road we travelled. 

In Bucarest, of course, we see the Germans 
in hundreds. Certain shops have to be boy- 
cotted as they are German owned, and it is 
gratifying to note that these are shunned 


alike by the Roumanians and the Allies. At 
the races on Sundays one sees the enemy 
diplomats wandering near the railings, fat 
and pompous, and wearing overcoats of mar- 
vellous cut. Whenever a new village falls in 
Serbia, Capsa's Restaurant (the Ritz of Bu- 
carest) resounds to German toasts and Ger- 
man voices. At a music-hall, however, to 
which I went one evening, the Roumanian 
audience sang and whistled "Tipperary" and 
hooted German phrases spoken on the stage. 

Society is returning to town, for the rains 
are expected, and we have begun to play 
bridge and to pay calls. In a vague way 
conversation hovers about the war. But it 
occupies itself chiefly with minor social prob- 
lems which crop up as a result of the whirling 
of the maelstrom. The following is an in- 
stance — 

A Dutch subject, A, marries a German 
woman, B. A becomes, long before the out- 
break of war, a naturalised Englishman in 
South Africa. When war is declared he is 
decoyed to Germany, caught and sentenced 
to death as a spy. His wife, left stranded in 
Roumania, is not allowed to live there with- 
out a passport, nor is she, without one, al- 

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The Reaping 


lowed to leave the country. The Dutch Gov- 
ernment refuses to give her one as she is, by 
marriage, a British subject. Our own refuses 
as she is an enemy alien. The German Gov- 
ernment also refuses because she is the wife 
of a condemned spy. Curious ! 

November 1915. — The seeds are sprouting. 
Bucarest is stirred by anti-Governmental agi- 
tations for war. One was held to-day, for 
which we hired a window, just as if it had 
been the Lord Mayor's Show. Troops pa- 
trolled the streets, some of which had even 
been brought from Ploesti. The windows of 
the German and Austrian Legations have re- 
cently been broken on various occasions, and 
the gates were triply guarded. Various poli- 
ticians made incendiary speeches in the public 
square below us, urging the crowd to impor- 
tune the King for war. They proclaimed that 
Roumania's prolonged neutrality spelt Ger- 
man slavery for ever. The crowd of some 
five thousand peasants, students and citizens 
actually charged the front rank of troops, 
massed to the number of five hundred men, 
before the Palace gate. Three or four citi- 
zens and several soldiers were wounded, sev- 
eral revolvers snapped, and one man was 


bayoneted in the stomach and killed. Other- 
wise nothing happened. But straws show 
which way the wind blows, though it may take 
a gale to stir a nation that lives under thatch. 

Seven thousand refugees have arrived in 
Roumania from Serbia, and Bucarest is busy 
organising relief committees which will pro- 
vide hostels for them on the Danube. Tor- 
rential rain has begun to fall, and one shud- 
ders when one pictures their plight. Restive 
tidings come from Greece, equivocal and un- 
satisfactory. It is whispered that Bagdad 
has fallen, and rumour is rife, whilst German 
propaganda agents here have become ex- 
traordinarily active lately, and spies abound. 
Altogether we are restless and long for defi- 
nite news of the outer world. 

To-day the King opened the Chamber. I 
believe that there was quite a scene, and fisti- 
cuffs came into play when some would-be 
patriots shouted, "Down with Hungary !" 
The King was well received. 

I am going to spend a month in the country. 
Bucarest is too small to interest one for a 
long time on end, and one grows very nervous 
under the tension of waiting for something to 
happen which cannot possibly come to pass 


for at least a year. The peasants here re- 
quire investigation. They are children: 
happy, well clothed and well fed. 

About a week ago I rode out very early 
towards the aviation ground. Two Rouman- 
ian officers were before me, trying a new aero- 
plane. Just as I arrived, the monoplane 
hummed away into the distance and the sun- 
rise. I stopped to pass the time with the re- 
maining subaltern, who had once been a 
dancing partner. 

"What a gorgeous day!" I opened — ob- 

The little lieutenant smiled a somewhat 
doubtful assent, then shivered and offered me 
a cigarette. 

"The ground is cold and very muddy/ ' he 
answered, with a furtive glance at the dimmed 
splendour of his new top-boots. ' ' Six months 
of military service have not yet accustomed 
me to the material discomfort of early morn- 

We waited, silently. On every side 
stretched virgin soil, rich, black and fruitful. 
Perhaps it was the fact that the very earth 
had not been stirred for centuries that gave 


to all things on all sides their calm, intense 
repose. Close at hand a peasant's hnt 
belched forth charcoal fumes, and a woman 
whose feet were bare, but who flaunted on her 
head a scarlet kerchief, tended to children 
and chickens indiscriminately amidst a heap 
of refuse. Near by a shepherd, owner of them 
all, watched his flocks and looked at nothing. 
We strolled towards him. 

"Do talk to him," I said. "I may be able 
to understand a little. ' ' 

"Well, my man," said my friend obedi- 
ently, ' * how 's the world treating you ? Crops 

"I am a shepherd, Excellency." 

"Does it pay you well — bring you much 

"As well as may be, Excellency; one 

"Ask him if he's happy," I said. 

"Do you like living so?" was the form my 
question took. 

"Yes, Excellency. The lambs this year are 
fat and strong." 

"Impossible people," said the officer; 
"they think of nothing but their sheep." 


"Well, you don't give them much else to 
think about," I replied. 

There was a humming overhead. The 
lieutenant, slightly exasperated, pointed to 
the descending monoplane, for the shepherd 
had not raised his eyes. 

"Do you know what that is?" he asked. 

"No, Excellency,' ' — without interest. 

"That is a machine which flies — it is called 
an aeroplane. You must have seen them 
before — you live here." 

"We sleep after noon," replied the man 
ruminatively. Then : ' ' Yes, I have seen a 
machine. It stopped on the road where 
Mitru lives, and left in the road a pool of 
liquid which was not water. Mitru 's pig 
drank there and it died." 

It was hard not to smile. "Shall I give 
him a ride in the aeroplane?" asked my 
friend quizzically. 

"Won't he die of fright?" 

"Not he. You don't know these people. 
Come, my man, I will take you in this machine 
and show you what it is to fly. Would you 
like it?" 

"If it please your Excellency. The sheep 
are feeding and will not stray." 


After a few words of introduction and 
explanation to the other officer, who had 
landed a few hundred yards behind us, the 
shepherd was hoisted into his passenger seat 
and the aeroplane soared away. 

The woman just raised her scarlet-crowned 
head and then resumed her sweeping. A few 
sheep scampered away terrified. I lit another 

"The English are funny people," mur- 
mured my companion ; ' l they do not like ex- 
periments themselves, yet they approve of 
them for others." 

"What do you call our war!" I asked. 

"A certainty," was the reply. 

The trip was short ; already the monoplane 
was circling round the little cabin. It 
swooped and came to earth where it had risen. 
The shepherd climbed down silently and 
stood, waiting. 

"Well," said the soldiers tentatively, "did 
you like it, or were you frightened?" 

1 ' I saw my sheep smaller, ' ' was the answer. 
Then: "Have you a present for Zwicka?" 

"I told you so," said my friend; "they are 
impossible people." 


"But yet they have some common sense,' ' 
I amended, as I rode away. 

If that is the Roumanian peasant as he is 
within a stone 's-throw of his capital, I want 
to know him in the country! 


December 1915. — I have gone back to the 
land with a vengeance ! The soil pursues one 
into one's bedroom, so tenaciously does it 
cling and clog the footwear. My British 
brogues are ill-adapted to Roumanian coun- 
try roads, and gather weight at every step. 
For a country bordering on the East, where 
"scenery" means blaze and light, the land- 
scapes here offer peculiar contradictions. 
Although transparent skies and sunshine are 
in proper keeping, the colour scheme is dark 
almost to greyness through the neutral tints 
of earth and thatch and trees. It is winter 
and all branches are bare. I made a curious 
discovery to-day: a nail had worked loose 
inside my shoe, and I needed a stone. Per- 
haps if I had been willing to walk a mile and 
search at every step, I might have found one, 
but in retrospect this seems unlikely. This 
country, which teems with ungrown corn and 
oozes petrol, does not run to stones. Corn 



means bread in plenty and petrol stands for 
motor traffic, but one thing more is essential 
in modern life, and that is material where- 
with to build. There is none, and therefore 
you will find few houses on a Roumanian 
horizon. Village architecture runs to mud 
and thatch, and when proprietors are com- 
paratively wealthy they invest in a coat of 
whitewash. Such buildings occasionally 
gleam amongst distant trees ; the meaner ones 
are marked by wisps of smoke. Often the 
former are painted in flaunting colours and 
designs such as those which peasant women 
embroider on their Sunday clothes. 

What strikes one most is the greatness of 
earth qua earth and the unimportance of peo- 
ple whose dead bodies go to make it. I have 
lived in desert countries where space is 
infinite and everything except humanity so 
immense that it touches the sublime. But the 
painter was delicate in touch, and his pictures 
are mirage in water-colour; here we are 
shown panorama, rich and solid, done in oils. 
When one has known and loved the furthest 
East, one meets with daily disappointment 
in these Balkan states. Sometimes, on moon- 
lit nights, when the gypsies play for dancing, 


one can trace in the cadence of their cracked 
violins echoes of the flutes which Persian 
shepherds play; bnt this is seldom. More 
often, alas! memory recalls the Blue Hun- 
garian Band. There is little soul in the 
music, but plenty of inspiring rhythm. I went 
to a "Chindia," or country dance, where all 
the villagers came, dressed in their best, and 
danced themselves to madness, whilst my own 
feet grew most unruly and aspired to fan- 
tastic evolutions inadequately realised. 

They are a handsome race — swarthy some- 
times, but with clean brown skins to veil the 
vivid gypsy blood. Ofter they are very fair, 
and the women recall tales of Circassian 
slaves. Men and women alike are supple and 
well formed; further, the native dress en- 
hances the inherent grace. White is the pre- 
dominating tone, for the loose shirts, open 
at the throat, are made of cotton, sunbleached 
and starched by drying in the wind. The 
women wear embroidered blouses of butter 
muslin caught together at the neck with nar- 
row cord. This is tucked into a double apron 
which falls in two straight panels in front 
and behind. Sometimes these are of woven 
wool in rich dark colours, more seldom of silk, 


and these boast glints of gold or silver thread. 
It is in colour schemes that the Roumanian 
peasant soul gives expression to ideals, and 
the whole scale of human personality is be- 
trayed in the contrasting tones of apron-sash 
and kerchief. Roumanian femininity has 
never admitted that it had a waist ; the man, 
par contre, is flagrant in boasting of his own. 
His shirt is cut and pleated into semblance 
of a kilt, and the coloured waist-band which 
marks his middle has learnt to rival the lines 
of Persian miniatures. Tight-fitting under- 
drawers of cotton, which tidy ankles and feet 
away into woollen socks, embroidered in black 
and white complete his costume ; woe, there- 
fore, to the rarity who suffers from ill- 
shapen legs! I never saw one. All are 
broad-shouldered, flat-backed and tall. Grown 
old, they have a patriarchal dignity all their 
own wherein combine the kindly resignation 
of the Slav and the fatalism of the East. 
Young and old alike have happy faces, and 
have not learnt to smile the smile which 
knows not laughter. 

I do not think that a single peasant under- 
stands that the greatest war in history is be- 
ing fought almost within sound of the guns. 


They know, vaguely, that their enemies, the 
Bulgars, who cultivate, by force of tradition 
and superior knowledge, most of the vege- 
tables grown for Roumanian towns, have 
been recalled across their border to fight. 
And for this fact they are as vaguely grate- 
ful, for a goodly proportion will never re- 
turn, and a new industry glimmers as a pos- 
sibly profitable opening for such enlightened 
villagers as have comprehended that the 
earth can foster other growths than corn. But, 
for the rest, why, even we ourselves have al- 
most forgotten the war! Small wonder to 
it. The rains have washed the world, and 
winds from Russia stripped the foliage from 
all trees; nevertheless we are basking in a 
St. Martin's summer, and feel most wonder- 
fully warm. "We motor all day, long excur- 
sions in unkempt-looking cars, the hum of 
whose engines alone betrays their worth. Big 
properties often lie thirty or forty miles 
apart, but country-house standards are kept, 
and that with kinship to those in England. In 
Wallachia we are invited for week-ends of 
tennis, motoring and companionship; Mol- 
davia offers gun and rifle sport of every kind. 
Little sight-seeing is possible. We spent 


the whole of one drowsy day in the silence of 
a nunnery. A square courtyard, where the 
paving-stones trapped sunlight, flanked the 
ennobled cruet-stand which was the church. 
The place is famed for age and sanctity. 
Faded paintings decorated the whitewashed 
exterior of the building, and a dreamy vague- 
ness of incense and tired gold glimpsed 
through the archway of the door. There were 
several valuable ikons hidden in corners, and 
a modern one from Odessa leaned to catch 
the only ray of sunlight which reached the 
altar. This had been raised some few months 
before in honour of the Queen, who came once 
on a visit and taught the peasants to love 

We made just one other excursion with an 
object on the day that saw us drive thirteen 
miles in a country cart to inspect steam 
ploughs lately arrived from England. Our 
way led straight across the fields, where 
motors cannot travel. I remember the owner 
of the property, who said to me : " These are 
the first machines to be introduced here ; next 
year there will be dozens, and the crop will 
be a phenomenal one." 

Two years' accumulation of unsold corn 


already taxes the accommodating power of 
the country. Where is the object, therefore, 
of a record yield? 

I have failed, somehow, most singularly, in 
the realisation of my purpose in coming and 
living outside the radius of the city, namely, 
the one of studying the Roumanian peasant 
at home. A thorough knowledge of the lan- 
guage is essential, and, even towards their 
fellow-countrymeu, they are most curiously 
unapproachable. One can only marvel at the 
infinity that divides their mentality from that 
of their brothers in the towns. Even the 
look in their eyes changes after a few weeks 
in the city, and decidedly for the worse in 
every case. One must conclude that they 
are not ready yet for confinement in bricks 
and mortar. Besides, in such an exagger- 
atedly agricultural land, the earth holds prim- 
itive sway and guards most jealously children 
who are complete dependents. Despite the 
fact that they are rich, according to the stand- 
ards of labourers in the West, beyond all 
dreams of acquisition and earning, they have 
remained most primitive, and I must honestly 
confess that at times their sense of cleanli- 
ness is completely dormant. Houses, hu- 


mans and animals alike are indistinguishable, 
at a few yards ' distance, against the immense 
brown background of the covering soil. 

January 1916. — The month brought snow 
and found us back in Bucarest. Social life 
has begun — not the fastly furious exaggera- 
tion which novels had taught us to believe 
holds sway. All the ladies are busy rolling 
bandages and working at hospital supply 
depots. This not for the profit of the Allied 
troops, but for themselves, as a preparation 
for their own entry on the Allied side. A 
marked change has come over the atmos- 
phere, and their hands have begun to grope 
towards us where only their hearts formerly 
inclined. A few there are amongst them 
whose sympathy is frankly hostile, and who 
hobnob at Capsa's with the Bodies. But so- 
ciety treats them scurvily and shuns their 
environs. At dances, theatre parties — such 
as they are— and dinners we meet hosts of 
young people, amongst them many officers, 
and these chafe openly against the equivocal 
attitude of their Government. The girls burn 
with patriotism for France, a country which 
they have been brought up to reverence. 
Dowagers see in the future, when Roumania 


joins, advancement for their sons, whilst old 
men envisage in their conversation dreams 
which their fathers taught them to cherish of 
a ' ' Greater Roumania. ' ' Meanwhile the men 
of thirty-five or thereabouts are seldom seen. 
Some are away on their estates, preparing, 
it is said, to negotiate a great political deal 
in corn, others are perfecting the school of 
aviation recently inaugurated in Roumania 
according to system learnt in France. 
Others, again, are lost in Government build- 
ings. We meet these latter occasionally, and 
they invariably find means to whisper or im- 
ply: "C'est pour bientot, notre entree. ' ' 
Preparation everywhere, allies in all but 
name, hesitating, nevertheless, to take the 
final plunge into a whirlpool of horror which 
can prove but questionably profitable. 

They work during the week, but on Sun- 
days make holiday, and the afternoon sees 
them stream out in one gay, unending pro- 
cession to the racecourse at the top of the 
Chaussee. Nothing happens there, for there 
is no racing except during the spring and 
autumn, but everybody sees everybody else, 
and — those persons whom everybody is 

One of the New Steam Ploughs 


Hats still arrive from Paris, no one quite 
knows how, but presumably they take a three 
weeks' journey round the Baltic Sea. It is 
possibly more probable that they originate 
in Vienna. And the clothes are wonderful, 
and even more wonderfully expensive. The 
country must be made of money. I have 
never imagined that a place could exist on 
this earth when even the poor were so ob- 
viously rich. Not a middle-class family but 
can afford themselves a weekly hired cab or 
motor at a price of over a sovereign an hour 
in which to spend the afternoon ! 

We are tantalised by the importance, in- 
adequacy and divergence of the news items 
which filter through devious routes from 
every corner of the globe. German news- 
papers are patronised for interest 's sake, and 
we are choked with propaganda literature is- 
sued daily by the Wolff Bureau. The Bul- 
garian Press Agency publications provide en- 
tertainment for our evenings, but we all suf- 
fer from wistful longing for the Daily Mail 
on our breakfast table. Posts arrive from 
home with complete regularity, though the 
dates are prehistoric. The Roumanian pa- 
pers, however, are fairly well informed. 


Their columns make bewildering study, for 
the Allies communiques therein rub shoulders 
with enemy news and offer kaleidoscopic in- 

The Germans in our midst are somewhat 
officiously en evidence these days, and one 
cannot deny that their effusive methods of 
propaganda bear fruit. Sometimes we come 
face to face with enemy diplomats, intimates 
often of pre-war days, in some restaurant 
cloak-room. British, French, Germans and 
Austrians alike have learnt to don a curious 
facial expression born of these encounters, 
which is a mixture of well-bred indifference 
and a frankly vulgar sneer. One avoids such 
meetings whenever possible, but tins is a tiny 
town, and there are but some half-dozen 
streets where one can walk in comfort. 

At regular intervals some politician in the 
Chamber makes an inflammatory speech urg- 
ing participation in the war. Then rumour 
runs wild, and people begin to whisper 
over the morning aperitif, the Allied minis- 
ters are cheered, and influential pro-Germans 
avoid public appearances in the company of 
their German friends. But nothing is going 
to happen here for a long time, nor is it of 


advantage to our cause that such unknown 
waters should be prematurely stirred. On 
every side there echoes the catch- word: 
"Nous sommes un si petit pays — qui sait ce 
qui peut nous arriver 1 ' ' 

No one at home can comprehend the com- 
plete isolation of this country. Straight 
through Austria and Germany lies the only 
reliable communication with the Paris they 
love and honour here as a religion. Rou- 
mania is not the originator of hypocritical 
tactics which profess friendship for an enemy 
so as to keep in touch with that enemy's en- 
vironment. Social climbers will understand 
my point. All that Roumanians have to offer 
of private funds and sympathy they have al- 
ready given. Not a woman one meets but has 
a filleul somewhere in the trenches, hardly a 
man who has no investments in some form of 
war loan. As a race they may be held to be 
somewhat flippant, but we have their indi- 
vidual friendship in return for what we have 
already given them. Should we offer them 
more, reserving threats against a possible 
rejection, they will probably accept it, be- 
cause they trust us sufficiently to think that 
they will not be asked too high a price. 


February 1916. — When the snow fell really 
deep and the surface of it froze, we packed an 
outfit for winter sport and entrained for the 
mountains. Sinaia is the obvious resort on 
these occasions, in the same fashion as it of- 
fers for the summer a respite from the dog 
days. The hotels stand open in winter, as 
does the casino in ordinary years. But this 
time the war had closed those treacherous 

The hotels are primitive for a country 
which inclines instinctively towards display 
of luxury. One cannot even obtain a comfort- 
able bath. But Roumania borders enough 
upon Eastern countries to catch rays from 
their winter sunshine, and it is no hardship 
to spend long days out of doors. Bobsleighs 
and skis multiplied with marvellous rapidity, 
and those amongst us who ignored the possi- 
bilities of both were invited to go "footing" 
for miles over the snow. Blue-misted valleys 
and ravines where mountain water flowed 
made switchbacks for pointed hills of fir trees, 
and one recalled obscure parts of Switzer- 
land, immortalised in guide-books. Villas 
sprouted everywhere, built in painted wood 
on the Swiss cottage system, and one was 


hard put to it to remember that one was in 
the Balkans. 

Little of import occurred here, but I my- 
self, who am a maniac for scenery, carried 
away a mind-picture of the view from Santa 
Anna mountain, where we enjoyed a moonlit 
dinner eaten off rugs spread on the snow, 
and danced to music made by villagers in a 
wooden hut built to shelter travellers over- 
nighted on the peak. 

As far as the war was concerned we re- 
mained passive spectators only, and that at 
an immense distance. But from Ploesti came 
the news that the year was to be a record one 
for petrol output. The Roumanians them- 
selves are only just beginning to understand 
how rich they can so easily become; how 
should outsiders guess it! It appears that 
on the Austrian frontiers live stock has been 
surreptitiously sold in large quantities to the 
enemy. But one can hardly call this treach- 
ery; the prices offered were stupendous and 
the traffickers were peasants. Still, the tale 
is not a pretty one in view of the very strin- 
gent military laws recently passed, and I am 
glad to say that the offenders were duly pun- 


March 1916. — We find, on our return to 
Bucarest, that a British Bureau has been es- 
tablished for the purchase of large quantities 
of corn. It is hoped that such a procedure, 
which will bring vast sums of money into the 
country, will discourage illegal frontier traf- 
fic such as has been discovered lately. The 
town is in an uproar of excitement, for the 
crops have lain unsold ever since the war 
started, and many land-owners have suffered 
financially. Now they are all clamouring for 
a share in the new market, for the quantity 
required cannot even begin to affect the over- 
whelming supply. There is, of course, an 
absolute impossibility of transporting the 
purchased grain to England for lack of routes 
and rolling stock, but it has been planned to 
store the acquisition all over the land in gran- 
aries built for and sealed by the British Gov- 
ernment. All this is very feasible, but one 
dreads what may happen should Roumania 
come into the war and fail to stem a German 

The direct result of the installation of the 
Corn Bureau has been a wave of popular en- 
thusiasm for the British. Money talks in all 
languages, and the British have suddenly 


become almost popular as the French have 
always been. If only Russia could invent a 
beau geste of this nature, this country would 
be completely won. Her great Northern 
neighbour still inspires this small dependent 
with a vague mistrust. Realising the situa- 
tion, one cannot cavil at the existence of such 
a sentiment. "Were the lines of communica- 
tion through Austria once closed, Roumania 
would find herself relying upon one railway 
line to Petrograd for even the most insignifi- 
cant requirements of modern life, not to men- 
tion the whole paraphernalia essential to mod- 
ern warfare. Beyond a few villages where 
they have learnt a primitive cotton indus- 
try, a few leather factories and some alcohol 
plants, the population produces absolutely 
nothing except the corn and the oil from out 
its own mother earth. Meanwhile every ne- 
cessity reaches quickly and in perfect condi- 
tion all the gaps where it is required through 
existing channels, and Roumania wants for 
nothing, nor will she unless she abandon her 

This corn deal will be a nasty blow for the 
Germans, who have been trying to purchase 
the stocks for months. It is hardly to be 


expected that they will take it lying down, 
and I fancy that the Government here will be 
faced with some unpleasant ultimatums in 
the near future. One can only hope that a 
loophole will be found by which this country 
can establish for itself a still firmer neutral- 
ity. Even those patriots who are most 
anxious for immediate participation in the 
war are obliged to admit that nothing is as 
yet prepared. It is rumoured that the next 
important political step here will be a general 
mobilisation. Only when that is well over 
will there be a possibility of looking round 
and seeing definitely what is going to be 
needed. The army is growing rather restless, 
and waking from a sleep of infancy to watch 
interestedly the games of older children. It 
is the best way to learn, but it takes a long 
time, and I am not sure that there will be time 

April 1916. — Spring has come, quite sud- 
denly, and we have routed out dusty cup- 
boards for tennis racquets. There is a scarc- 
ity of balls, which spoils our form. None 
are allowed to come through Russia, and the 
inferior quality of the few Austrian ones re- 


ceived can be directly traced to a German 
shortage of rubber. 

Racing has begun, and we drive out every 
Sunday, dressed in our best, to bet a little, 
stroll a little and drink a little tea. 

The whole earth seems to have cracked in 
the same manner as do the buds on trees, 
showing an unclercovering of delicate green, 
which is the sprouting corn. The peasants 
who work there are mostly women, for the 
army has in very truth been mobilised, and 
all the men are away digging trenches on 
the Austrian and Bulgarian frontiers. Rou- 
mania has entered the war in all but the ac- 
tual declaration, and now it only remains to 
be seen whether an open outbreak of hostili- 
ties can be sufficiently delayed for the best to 
be made of her very considerable assets of 
enthusiasm and men. Several little incidents 
have occurred lately to prove how near we 
are to conflagration. 

When the annual bazaar was held for the 
benefit of the Sisters of Charity, the wife of 
the Austrian minister received quantities of 
anonymous letters warning her that, if she 
held her annual stall, it would be boycotted 
and that she herself would probably be in- 


suited. The happening was not in the best 
of taste and one deplores it openly, but finds 
therein considerable satisfaction neverthe- 
less. And the German representative was 
threatened with a thrashing at the club. 
Fewer German propaganda leaflets have flut- 
tered lately, and the well-known Roumanian 
pro-Germans are keeping very quiet and are 
seldom visible. 

As a country, however, and in the eyes of 
International Law, Roumania is still neutral, 
and Germany is letting sleeping dogs lie for 
some reason of her own. It is only a question 
of months now as to when the crash will 
come, and we are beginning, for the first 
time, to envisage it seriously. I have been 
making tentative inquiries as to the Red 
Cross supplies existing, and find them most 
woefully inadequate for the kind of need 
there will be. The hospitals are undeniably 
primitive. A few private individuals are pre- 
paring Red Cross equipments and beds on 
their estates, but such amateur efforts can 
only provide accommodation for a very lim- 
ited number of the wounded who arrive in 
hundreds from a modern battle-field. And 
they could prove no more than comfortable 


convalescent homes at best, from the nature 
of their distance from the capital and the lack 
of railway communications. 

The existing political situation makes any 
form of preparation extraordinarily difficult, 
and Russia is chary of giving real transport 
help and facilities until the moment arrives 
for Roumania to be her open ally. The 
whole makes for a vicious circle singularly 
difficult to evade. For Germany will be 
obliged to act promptly and brutally on the 
day that open hostility is declared, yet no real 
help can be given here until such a declara- 
tion is made. We indulge, however, in 
numerous surreptitious activities and hope 
for the best, although disquieting thoughts 
are born when one pictures the future and all 
that it may hold for us of tragedy. 


May 1916.— The National Fete, the 23rd 
of May, marked the middle of the month, and 
a great review was held. Troops arrived in 
train-loads from all over the country for days 
beforehand and were billeted on the towns- 
folk. Despite the fact that all except the 
actual Guards regiments turned out in sober 
field equipment, which is grey-green in colour 
over here, I have never seen a spectacle that 
offered such a wonderful example of kinema- 
colour. Perhaps this was due to the fact that 
everything was so perfect and so small. The 
field-pieces almost glittered for the polishing 
which had been their lot, and all the ponies 
had been carefully selected to match the 
colour schemes of their various detachments. 
The ceremony took place in the morning on 
the length of the Chaussee. Tents and 
stands had been built in the night, and were 
thronged with spectators come, not to judge 
of worth, but to admire their relations. 



Herein they found full justification, for it 
must be admitted, both as an example of 
individual physical perfection and as a mili- 
tary force, the Roumanian army calls for re- 
spect. The standard is so high that it has 
become a danger, for one is inclined to forget 
the one crushing and unavoidable limitation 
of individual numbers. All the military 
science of the world cannot make more men 
than the population of a country is compe- 
tent to offer, and what are tens of thousands 
sent to battlefields where one has learnt to 
count the casualties in millions? King, 
Queen and Crown Prince rode at the head 
of their regiments and looked their best in 
uniform. The whole was a very lovely spec- 
tacle, but did not stand for warfare as it 
has developed during the last two years. 
When the beautiful little motor ambulances 
rolled past, gleaming with new coats of paint 
where red crosses caught the sunlight, the 
crowd was heard to murmur: "How wonder- 
fully equipped is our army; even the details 
are perfect." But we others who had seen 
the wounded arrive from Mons watched si- 
lently and went home very thoughtful. 

There are three classes of hospitals in 


Bucarest : about a dozen permanent and well 
organised, attended by first-class surgeons. 
These have existed contemporaneously with 
the army and were instituted on French mili- 
tary lines, so as to be prepared for war, 
should war, by any chance, break out. In 
peace time they serve as sanatoriums and 
civilian hospitals, and we all go there when 
we are ill. Then there are about ten auxil- 
iary hospitals, which have sprung into being 
quite lately and which are in the process of 
organisation. They are awaiting stores and 
supplies from home, and will probably be in 
working order by the time that war comes to 
us, provided, of course, that their stock ar- 
rives satisfactorily. What they lack are effi- 
cient doctors and nurses. Of the former there 
are a few, mostly students who have done 
superficial training in Germany or in France. 
There are no nurses at all. Even those who 
work in the established institutions are Rou- 
manian amateurs now, because the women 
who originally ran them were Germans, who 
have lately been recalled to their own coun- 
try. The Catholic nuns are really the most 
efficient amongst them, but they are limited in 
number and barely suffice for their own small 


charity concern, which has existed for years 
and which is financed by their Order in 
France. The third class consists of all the 
supplementary adjuncts that are springing 
up daily all over the land, on private estates, 
in schools, and in private houses belonging to 
rich people in Bucarest. These are purely 
temporary concerns, and do not pretend to 
be anything else. In many cases only the 
covering sheds exist, so as to give them an 
excuse for a registration number. Beds and 
stores have, naturally, been ordered, but the 
people who are at the head of them are pri- 
vate individuals, and consequently ignorant 
of the first principles of medical require- 
ments. Even the greatest optimists amongst 
us cannot count on them as anything but 
primitive dressing-stations for the future. I 
think that everybody has at last realised the 
very urgent need for preparation and reor- 
ganisation which has held fire so long, but it 
is by no means easy to know where to begin. 
One cannot embark upon satisfactory activi- 
ties when one is as lacking as we are in every 
form of material. Germany and Austria, who 
supply Roumania with all that she requires 
for industrial purposes, can obviously not be 


approached for these, her greater needs. 
And the Russian routes remain defiantly 
closed to all except the very irregular trans- 
mission of mails. A few small parcels arrive 
by letter post, but Roumania needs many 
shiploads of everything, from chloroform to 
aeroplanes, before she can even begin to con- 
sider their distribution. 

The tragedy of the whole thing is that, 
whereas the country as a whole has compre- 
hended the universal shortage, few indi- 
viduals can be found to embark upon ener- 
getic measures for finding a solution to the 
problem of supplies. One hears talk of bat- 
tles and sees them on the brink of participa- 
tion, knowing the while that little short of 
disaster can come of it under the present 
circumstances. The historic British motto 
of: "It will all be all right in the end," is 
inspiring only for countries strong enough to 
survive preliminary blows and to deliver the 
hardest hits in the last round. We have the 
uncomfortable feeling born of living very 
near a volcano which is going to erupt. 

Personally I cannot understand why the 
Germans are standing what they are getting 
out here. They seem to have accepted the 


facts of the corn deal, which is now an ac- 
complished transaction. The corn is stored 
in British granaries and the money has 
changed hands. Consequently many people 
who have been comparatively poor for two 
years have suddenly become wealthy again, 
and find the condition pleasant. They re- 
joice quite openly over what they describe as 
Roumania 's ' ' entry, ' ' and can leave the Ger- 
mans no vestige of doubt as to their antago- 

These outbursts of enthusiasm are occa- 
sionally tempered by the fact that we get 
little Allied news of the outside world. The 
facts of the German repulse at Verdun leaked 
through to us, however, and helped to destroy 
attempts to maintain the fiction of Rou- 
manian neutrality. One small section of 
society remains as openly "Boche" as it has 
always been. The business men who go to 
make it dabble in political intrigue and occa- 
sionally worry us by spreading rumours that 
the Government is to be evicted, but they are 
not very convincing and their propaganda is 
too obvious. There can be hardly any doubt 
now as to the direction in which we are rap- 
idly moving. 


A large party of British Red Cross nurses 
and doctors from Bulgaria recently passed 
through Bucarest. They had been released 
from a six months ' captivity which had been 
their lot ever since the Bulgarian invasion 
of Serbia. They told almost incredible tales 
of the horrors of that campaign, and the look 
in their eyes gave evidence which disproved 
the possibility of exaggeration. Here they 
received a most enthusiastic welcome and 
were pressed to remain. But they only spent 
three days, and then we saw them steam 
northwards along the single railway line to 
Petrograd and home. I must confess that I 
saw lightning pictures of ourselves doing like- 
wise and under similar circumstances in a 
few months' time. 

Our days are spent in drawing up lists and 
posting them to England of things which we 
are likely to require. They are so vast that 
one becomes discouraged. But a beginning 
must be made. Whether the things will ever 
reach us remains to be seen, but anything is 
better than inactivity, which is what we all 
suffer from nowadays. This eternal waiting 
for something to happen is bad for the nerves, 
and yet it is inevitable. The longer we can 


be left in peace "to wait," the better it will 
be for us all. 

June 1916. — The heat is almost overpower- 
ing, but Bucarest is full. Many are the rea- 
sons invented as excuses for staying on in 
this sun-trap of heat-cracked plaster and 
dusty green; nevertheless we all know quite 
well why we are still here. War is spoken 
of openly, and the only thing that is inexpli- 
cable is the wherefore of this tarrying. 

The Russian frontier has been closed for 
the last three weeks even to English mails. 
It is hinted that prodigious movements of 
troops are responsible, and that is satisfac- 
tory, for it has been officially recognised that 
Roumania is unable to take her first step 
alone. "We chafe impotently against the con- 
sequent suspension of all news which is not 
telegraphic from the outer world. So very 
probable is it that our English papers could 
give us more reliable information about the 
local situation than we who are on the spot 
can obtain ourselves. One would suppose 
that, in a small town like this, any important 
happening such as an official pronouncement 
or a definite development in the critical sit- 
uation would emanate immediately from 


obvious and reliable sources and become pub- 
licly known, but this is by no means the case. 
Here we are told only the scantiest of details, 
and the little we hear is only rumour of the 
wildest kind. During the last month it has 
even been whispered that Roumania is going 
to "go German" at the last minute, and that 
all her preparation is for the supreme be- 
trayal. But we can afford to laugh at such 
a monstrous accusation, for she is definitely 
committed in a hundred ways, and the evi- 
dence of our own eyes is the most direct con- 
tradiction of such a possibility as that we 
could desire. 

The Government still talk of neutrality and 
affect a purely local preoccupation with home 
politics. These latter, however, are purely 
the result of opposing German and Allied 
interests, and the pro-Germans are in an 
individual minority, hopeless, despite the for- 
midable support which money brings them. 

I hear it openly discussed that the first 
Roumanian move will be a gigantic forward 
movement into Transylvania. From this 
country's point of view, the world-war will 
obtain its participation from one ambition 


alone, and that the conquest of territories 
which are hers by blood ties and heritage. 

Oh dear ! This waiting is nervous work. I 
feel that I must do something active or take 
refuge in a sleeping draught. We are now 
informed that all is ready, but that nothing 
can happen until the Russian troops arrive. 
Certainly there is no sign of them yet. Mean- 
while every day sees new outbursts of mili- 
tary activity in the town and in the suburbs. 
Troops march through in hundreds, and 
I cannot believe that the Germans are igno- 
rant of all that is toward. On the other hand, 
if they know that war is spoken of as 
a question of weeks, perhaps of days, why 
on earth don't they assert themselves, in- 
stead of pretending to believe implicitly the 
reiterated official protestations of complete 
neutrality? One can only conclude that they 
are lying in wait for us in some unpleasant 
fashion, and that is not a comforting 
thought. Only one thing is certain, and that 
is the break which is coming. This state of 
things cannot possibly last much longer. The 
fuse has been lighted. 

July 1916. — A month has passed and we are 
still here, still neutral, still on tenterhooks. 


There is no news from Russia, but troops are 
said to have crossed the Danube. 

All the ladies have been requested to report 
themselves at the Headquarters of the Rou- 
manian Red Cross. We Englishwomen can 
go and work where we like, and I have offered 
myself to one of the big military hospitals. 
I was asked whether I had ever done any 
nursing, and was obliged to give a negative 
reply. But I was told that it "did not 
matter, ' ' my hands would be useful. I work 
there feverishly every day trying to accumu- 
late as much knowledge and nursing informa- 
tion as is possible. Nurses are even more 
completely non-existent than I had realised. 
There is not a woman in the place who knows 
the first principles of hospital training such 
as we have in England, and I feel just as com- 
petent as are any of the others to use lavish 
quantities of disinfectants and to do exactly 
as I am told. The doctor who is to be my 
immediate chief is a very clever man; he 
knows how to teach me my job, and now it is 
only a question of time. 

The days fly past. Each evening the con- 
flagration seems inevitable within the next 
twenty-four hours, every morning sees us 


sunk in apathy and summer stupor. And the 
heat is indescribable. We avoid meeting peo- 
ple ; where 's the use ? They know now more 
than we do ourselves, and talking about the 
situation only aggravates the tension. 


August 1916. — War is really coming. Our 
street to-day looks quite martial; there is a 
remount office at the end of it, and streams 
of men go in and out there all the time. We 
have been warned that all the telegraph wires 
to Austria-Hungary will be cut to-morrow. 
Of this the enemy envoys, apparently, know 
nothing. There is to be a Crown Council 
to-morrow night to deal with final private 
affairs, though it is hoped that the Germans 
will regard it as the terrified result of a 
haughty ultimatum which they sent Rou- 
mania this week. The attack is planned for 
to-morrow. Things are getting exciting, but 
one still hesitates to credit that the moment 
has come at last. 

It is said that our first taste of warfare 
will be an aerial bombardment. I have or- 
dered water to be kept in all the bath-tubs 
from to-day forward, and am having a tap 
connection provided between the garden hose 



and the pantry. All the blankets are piled in 
the front hall. Perhaps in this manner we 
can ensure a slight protection against fire. 

The Roumanians are not over-confident. 
In fact, they don't expect to begin by win- 
ning. They say there will be reverses, losses 
near the Danube towns ; this because the Rus- 
sians have not yet arrived and may come 
rather late. But the General Staff holds to 
the bait of Transylvania, and means to gam- 
ble high. 

We sent out for the newspapers to-day and 
were told that publication was prohibited, 
presumably for fear of possible leakage about 
the attack, which aims at being a surprise 
one. Many of the houses where important 
personages live are watched. Now we just 
sit and wait for news from the first Rou- 
manian front. The words seem strange as I 
write them. It sounds queer somehow, and 
horrible when I picture further and imagine 
what lies ahead of us. No one at home can 
understand the weak fear that undermines 
the morale of those who live in "Little Coun- 
tries." Our soldiers fight with cannon, these 
men mostly with their hands, and they have 
only two each. And there are no great fac- 


tories behind them crashing out ammunition ; 
they are dependent upon train supplies over 
an independable route. Oh yes ! it will soon 
be brought home to us, this war, which has 
only meant words to us women in England, 
where the Zeppelin raids were the only mate- 
rial taste we got. 

The prolonged waiting is hard. There is 
little harder. It's like watching an accident 
avoided — or happen. I personally have never 
been frightened, and don 't know at all how I 
should behave in a systematic bombardment. 
Our two little red English fire-squirts, bought 
a long while previously in a German shop, 
look singularly small and pathetic, and I 
cannot help wishing that they were bigger! 
I have packed the silver away, also the china. 
I have tried to busy myself all day with ab- 
surd superfluities, and all the time I find 
myself listening. . . . 

Oh, I do hope that I'll have the luck to live 
through this war ; it would be such bad luck 
not to ! But out here there is no reason why 
any one should. Three German aeroplanes or 
one Zeppelin could play hell with this little 
town of trees and plaster. And Bulgaria is 
only one hour's flight away! However, to sit 


and wait here for a year, anticipating war, 
and then to be extinguished promptly by a 
Bulgarian bomb, would be an injustice un- 
worthy of the Almighty. It is really only 
an impersonal desire to be in at the finish, 
not the wish to live, that prompts these 

Later. — Hurrah! the die is cast. All the 
telephone wires have been cut, the enemy 
envoys are to be packed off this evening, and 
mobilisation for active service begins at mid- 
night. We have already been declared "un- 
der martial law." War will be declared in 
Vienna, a little bit late, by the Roumanian 
minister. I met the German minister here 
walking towards his Legation this morning, 
and wanted to make a face at him. That is 
the way one feels. 

Later. — Well! the passes are half taken, 
wounded are coming in, also prisoners. It 
is really war, and I am really in it ! ! ! 

Bucarest is quite calm. Orders have come 
round to extinguish all the lights in view of 
the Zeppelin raids which have actually begun. 
I had only one little green light burning in 
my house last night when the first one was 
signalled, and the police came and told me to 


put it out. I was so snubbed that I did not 
attempt a candle, and sat through the raid 
in the dark. 

All the church bells rang wildly when the 
signal came through, and the guns were 
infernal, popping like mad. I counted 
twelve searchlights and tried to believe in the 
actuality of the happening, but honestly, if I 
had not hurt myself by bumping into a tin 
trunk in the dark, I should feel to-day as if I 
had dreamt the whole thing. One thing, how- 
ever, struck me forcibly, and will remain as a 
humorous recollection until I die: in this 
quiet town, lying peacefully under a starlit 
heaven with no sound of traffic to spoil the 
silence, the sound that deafened us was not 
the shooting, but the dogs!! Thousands of 
them barked, every age and size of yap imag- 
inable, and I pictured them all with 
surprised, stiff noses, furious and impotent. 
They caught a nest of spies signalling to the 
Zepp, and we are expecting another raid to- 
night, as the first was probably only a trial 
trip. I hope they won't come daily, though 
there is nothing to prevent it — our aerial de- 
fences are decidedly primitive. These visita- 
tions upset one 's sleep. Only five bombs were 


dropped last night, and I feel somehow as 
if they were reserving themselves for some- 
thing really nasty. 

There was no butter to-day for breakfast, 
but we were very cheerful about it, because 
we heard that a big tunnel has been taken 
intact on the Precleal line, which ensures the 
army communications. It had been feared 
that the Austrians would destroy it. I sup- 
pose that they had no time; still, one hopes 
that it will not prove to have been a ruse that 
they did not do so. These soldiers are new to 
warfare and the enemy is not. It would be 
disastrous if local successes went to their 

September 1916. — All is still safe and 
quiet ; so far we have not even had food diffi- 
culties. Zepps crossed the Danube last night 
and were signalled here, but there was too 
much wind for them, presumably, for they 
never arrived. 

I have fallen into regular hospital routine, 
and have been given charge of one of the 
pavilions into which our own institution is 
divided. Needless to say that I feel singu- 
larly incompetent, but am bound to acknowl- 
edge that it had become a matter of neces- 


sity to put some reliable person at the head 
of each. Most of the women who work there 
are young girls who have no notion of respon- 
sibility or method. They do not know enough 
to take the most ordinary of sanitary precau- 
tions. I go at breakfast time every day till 
late at night, and only get home for lunch, 
and supper in the middle of the night. 

Everybody is in the highest spirits; the 
Roumanian advance is almost brilliant, and 
one can hardly credit the communiques that 
come in, they are so splendid. Nevertheless 
I can't help feeling that this nation has not 
the faintest conception of the horrid things 
that might happen to it should things, by any 
chance, begin to go wrong ; and the start has 
really been too one-sided. 

Later. — It has been a wild twenty-four 
hours ! To-day, at three o 'clock on a sunny 
afternoon, I drove back to my hospital. In 
the open market-place, which is the half-way 
house, I noticed all the people looking up and 
gesticulating, and then for half an hour I 
was really in the war, for there were six 
Taubes overhead all dropping bombs. 

As we neared the hospital shrapnel began 
to fall. The bombs, of course, fell all round. 


I picked up one man wounded and uncon- 
scious and took him on with me in the car. 
A woman was killed at the gate of the hos- 
pital and one man died on the doorstep. 
There are barracks just near by, and all the 
soldiers got out of hand and fired their rifles 
madly in all directions. Two men wounded 
by their own comrades were carried in to us 
afterwards. We settled down to work, and 
had three operations between four and seven. 
Just as we were preparing to go home 
stretchers began to come in from different 
parts of the town where bombs had fallen. I 
wired home not to expect me till they saw me, 
and we worked on till 9.30, when all the oper- 
ations were over. The wounded were all over 
the town, and all the other hospitals filled up 
too. The casualties were thirty dead and 
over a hundred wounded, for the streets were 
crowded when the Taubes came. The beasts 
flew round and round, thus hardly a quarter 
of the town escaped. All our airmen had 
gone to the front. I suspect spies of having 
informed the enemy; there was nothing to 
stop them and they did just what they liked. 
They flew very very low, and I saw the pilot 's 
face in one quite plainly as he turned. I got 


home to find that five large pieces of shrapnel 
had fallen in the garden. Apparently the 
confusion in the town whilst the actual raid 
was going on was terrific. The troops lost 
their heads and fired quite aimlessly, killing 
men and women before they could be 

One couldn't be excited in the hospital, 
there was no time. If a doctor is cutting off 
things and calls out "pansement" or "acquae 
lacta" like a pistol-shot at you, you somehow 
find it even if you don't know what it is. 
One just works without the faintest under- 
standing of what one is doing. After it was 
all over we collapsed, and sat in the model 
hospital kitchen with a petrol cooking-lamp 
for our only light (the electric light had been 
turned off at the main and we operated by 
candle illumination only), and drank hot tea 
and Zwicka and tried to recover. I don't 
feel that it is over yet; we shall have them 
back before the morning. They have only an 
hour to fly for more bombs. But twice in 
twenty-four hours is rather hard on one's 
nerves; and I forgot to say that they came 
last night too, but I was too sleepy to get up 
and listen. 

Sifting the Gkain 


It was a pretty sight to-day with the puffs 
of white smoke like cigarette rings against 
the blue sky, a curious contrast to the ter- 
rorised faces round. The bombs fell abso- 
lutely all round the hospital, but did not hit 
it, thank God! The populace is raging, and 
will probably lynch some German women who 
are still allowed to be at large. All the men 
are, of course, interned, in the hotels. It has 
been a bit too strenuous with the hospital 
work thrown in, but it is exhilarating to watch 
the men recover. Up till now they are get- 
ting on splendidly in pavilion number four. 
We have over a hundred. 

Later. — They came again last night — six 
Taubes. That makes three visits in twenty- 
four hours. I was too worn out to move, 
though the whole house shook and the thuds 
sounded uncomfortably close. This morning 
I am told that they were all round us, and that 
the rest of the household spent the night in 
the cellar. I think that I had the best of it. 
I remember thinking to myself : "If it is go- 
ing to happen I had rather be asleep," but 
I was really too weary to care. When one 
has stood for six and a half hours watching 
people under chloroform one does not mind 


what happens after. My feet were wrapped 
in alcohol bandages, they were so sore, and 
it would have taken the whole German army 
to move me. 

I was sent for very early by my doctor 
chief and we worked feverishly, the surgeons 
only half dressed in their uniform, myself in 
ordinary clothes, as there was no time to get 
into overalls. Twenty women and children 
are laid out in the mortuary. I have ceased 
to be affected by corpses, but I hate amputa- 
tions. To-day, whilst we were operating, an 
actor who helps stood holding an artery in a 
pair of tweezers whilst the doctor tied, and 
suddenly said : ' ' Shakespeare was right when 
he said " and then he spouted in Rou- 
manian the passage about " losing one's 
digits is worse than losing one's life." 

On the way home I drove past a house 
where live some friends of mine. They had a 
most wonderful escape in the night; fortu- 
nately all are alive, no one knows why. Three 
bombs must have hit their house, which was 
all dropping to bits, and all the windows were 
blown into the rooms, and one wooden bed 
looked like a sort of fancy pincushion as a 
result. Every single thing except the four 


people who lived there were shattered, a huge 
hole gaped in each bedroom, and there were 
apertures in the walls made by bits of the 
pavement forced in from outside. 

It had ceased to be surprising this after- 
noon when those devils flew back to us again 
just after we had got to the hospital after 
lunch and were well started on an operation ! 
But this time we nearly had a panic with the 
wounded. I stayed on in the ward with the 
helpless cases, for they said: "If you will 
stay with us, we are not afraid.' ' The lightly 
wounded were sent to the cellar. 

As I write it is about 6.30, and, according 
to the time the Taubes take to reload, they 
should be back by seven. I worked out the 
ethics of one's feelings towards them to-day 
at lunch and came to the conclusion that: 
(1) if one is killed one does not mind; (2) if 
one is wounded one only minds for a time; 
and (3) if one is neither one minds less. But 
something from outside should be done to 
help us, for this has become a bombarded 
town and is defenceless. Our own aeroplanes 
are needed at the front, but some French avi- 
ators are expected to-day, which will make us 
feel a little safer. The hospital, standing as 


it does in the centre of a military quarter, is 
an objective for the raids, and I must hon- 
estly confess that I don't like going back 
there a bit. But we now have a dozen really 
serious cases which require hard nursing, and 
one knows that if one did not go perhaps no 
one else would. 

The peasant soldiers who are brought back 
wounded from the front are paralysed with 
terror born of ignorance of the operating- 
table. But the convalescents help the morale, 
for they tell the others that "operation is 
good," and the poor wretches have begun to 
plead for c ' operation at once. ' ' I have heard 
some say: "Please, doctor, cut it off; do not 
try to save it," but so far he has rescued a 
lot of limbs by waiting. He himself, natu- 
rally, is learning daily, and I have heard him 
pronounce that "if he saves that leg, he will 
believe in anything." Morale makes three- 
quarters of a victory: the men, who are all 
children, say wistfully : "If you say that arm 
is all right, I will take the soup and go to 
sleep. ' ' Yesterday two men cried because the 
doctor postponed their operations till to-mor- 
row, and one of the three who were to be 


treated at once had a nervous collapse from 
pure fright. 

It is all so wonderful to me! To see the 
big muscles cut away and through, to see a 
horrible wound grow daily less painful in- 
stead of a life lost through gangrene. A man 
pumping blood three days ago from a main 
artery is to-day eating heartily and getting 
well. Contrary to all existing regulations, I 
have procured permission to give hot tea and 
a cigarette after the operations when the men 
ask for it themselves and no active injury can 
result. It saves their morale and quietens 
their nerves. They have the wonderful re- 
cuperative power of undeveloped nervous 
systems, and many can stand almost anything 
without anaesthetics. 

Curious ! A month ago I felt faint when I 
saw blood or smelt a nasty smell. 

Later. — The aviators have come and there 
was no raid last night, but we got no sleep, 
for we are creatures of habit and missed the 
noise. It is now 7.30 a.m., and they ought 
to be with us soon. The town is restless and 
shows signs of panic. Our servants rush to 
the cellar whenever the alarm bells ring to 
say that the Taubes have crossed the Dan- 


ube. This is the new system : when the bells 
have spoken no one is allowed out. They 
sounded this morning very early, and we 
are sitting expecting a raid at any minute. 
As a matter of fact — there they are ! ! ! 

Later, — One bomb fell over our garden wall 
and smashed all the kitchen windows. I 
chased round the house to see the departing 
Taube's tails. The household is in the cellar, 
for the noise is still going on. Here they are, 
the raiders, coming back, according to sound 
— no, they are off again. The aeroplanes 
carry about six or eight bombs each, so if one 
can locate six or eight crashes to each ma- 
chine in sight, you can feel more or less peace- 
ful for a few hours. The day raids are the 
easiest to manage ; one can see the way they 
are going and make for the opposite direc- 

People have been hurt quite near our 
house ; a bomb fell in the street just where I 
can't see the place from my window, killing 
three and wounding two who passed there. 

A very shaky domestic has just carried up 
my breakfast. Personally I don't like the 
cellar, and prefer a part of the house where 
I can see and move about. The raid was a 


short one and is already over. I presume 
that our aviators went up and did some 

Later. — I went round to the hospital to find 
that a patient had been killed in his bed in 
pavilion number three. The men there are 
clamouring to be moved, and if this sort of 
thing goes on the whole place will have to 
be evacuated, though there is no alternative 
site where greater safety can be provided. 
But a panic would be fatal. It would spread 
to the town and bring about a rush for the 

The streets did not offer a pretty sight. 
Several dead horses lay about, and a horse 
bleeds prolificacy. 

It's an odd life ; one has to think how many 
are standing it hourly in the trenches. No 
one can realise a real air bombardment until 
they have been in it any more than I did 
before I saw it. I know now what the Bible 
meant when it told us that a " heart turned 
to water/ ' I am frankly frightened, and had 
no appetite for lunch! 

Later. — We have had two days' peace and 
feel much better, but my nerve has decidedly 
gone. It's seeing the wounded that does it. 


One does not realise the horrors properly un- 
til a raid is well over. Three of the poor 
legless fellows who were brought into the 
hospital died. I am trying to console myself 
with the remaining one, who will recover. 
The man who works a quick-firer in the 
hospital grounds blew his own stomach out 
and a child was killed beside him. They lay 
there for a day before they were found. 
Three men were blown to bits in another pa- 
vilion. I think that the Red Cross flags 
should be taken down ; it is obvious that the 
Germans try for them. 

Undoubtedly the enemy are well informed, 
because they always manage to come in force 
when our own fliers are away. They are 
scared of the Frenchmen and have never 
given them a chance. Apparently the night 
raids are the work of a Zeppelin and the six 
Taubes only come by day. They can see this 
town as easily as a map in the hand. 

Zepp and Taube bombs behave differently, 
and procedure for avoiding them is contra- 
dictory. At least this is my own theory. 
The latter are small and pointed and timed, 
they pierce the floor and explode downstairs, 
so one climbs away from them; the former 


explode on contact, so one makes for the 
underground. But night time is the time for 
sleep, and one really prefers to trust to luck 
when one is tired out. So far we have been 

Later. — After forty-eight hours of peace 
they came again, the six Taubes. But this 
time it was simply a very amusing entertain- 
ment. As luck would have it our French 
airmen are at home, and the chase went right 
over our heads. Apparently they feel so safe 
that they come unarmed, and they were 
driven about distractedly all over the town 
and never dropped a bomb. Unfortunately 
we have, as yet, no fast machines, and they 
all got away; but, Lord! how they did have 
to hustle! 

The Red Cross flags have been removed 
from all the hospitals, and the men are slowly 
regaining their nerve. The doctor and I 
carry harmless doses of bromide and dole it 
out to people who look as if they need it. 
Somehow I don't think that we shall have 
many more of these attacks. It was so obvi- 
ous to-day that the enemy were demoralised 
by even the mildest show of resistance. 


Later. — The warnings we get are beginning 
to bore us. We bad two to-day and no raid. 
There are so many preparation whistles and 
then so many calming whistles that one is 
liable to get mixed np. I was in my bath 
with one and doing my hair with the other. 
I did not hurry over either performance. 
One is accustomed to anything nowadays, and 
the French airmen give one a feeling of 

One of them had an unfortunate experi- 
ence to-day. He was flying home in the twi- 
light, back from a little private "strafe," and 
travelling very low. The Roumanian soldiers 
fired at him under the impression that he 
was a solitary raider. He had to come down, 
and the populace set upon him with sticks 
and beat his head in and broke his jaw before 
they realised their mistake. 

The news from our front is rather vague. 
In fact, we have had none just lately. The 
last that we heard was that the Roumanians 
had a firm hold in Transylvania and that all 
was going well. But that was a week ago, 
and there has been nothing since. 

One cannot help feeling just a little wor- 


ried. However, there is nothing to do except 
stick to one's own particular job. 

All the wounded in my pavilion call me 
"Little Mother" now, and I have grown to 
love each individual man. 


October 1916. — I have not had the heart to 
keep this diary for the last few weeks, the 
situation has so completely changed. Our 
air-raid excitements (which, by. the way, 
have completely stopped) seem to have faded 
into absolute insignificance and into a very 
distant past when one still had a sense of 

But it was all too true. The Germans were 
just — waiting. Waiting their own time, and 
that time came. We hardly know ourselves 
what has happened or how far and fast our 
army has retreated, but we know that things 
are very serious from the complete absence 
of reliable news. 

We are told that French and British offi- 
cers are coming. They may save us yet, but 
they must come soon. Some of the Rou- 
manians were splendid. These the peasant 
sons of peasant warriors who fought and won 
through in the days when war was war, not 



massacre. They are uncivilised enough to re- 
member the fighting science taught them in 
folk-songs : ' ' Strike — strike hard ! ' ' 

The arrival of a French command may 
still save the capital, but one doubts it, for 
the passes are obviously falling with incred- 
ible rapidity, and the wounded are coming in 
in hundreds. 

We now have thirty-five cases in each of 
our wards, planned to hold fifteen. They are 
packed like herrings, poor wretches, and lying 
two in a bed. We keep one room for gan- 
grene cases; but what is one room? And 
there is no real operating-hall ! Still one does 
the best one can. And the doctor is a hero. 

It was inaccurate to say that the air raids 
are over — only they have become so unim- 
portant that one forgets them. They have 
slackened tremendously, and our air defences 
have been made more or less up to date. 
Yesterday, for instance, twenty bombs were 
dropped near the station and did no damage. 
On the other hand, an enemy machine was 
brought down near the suburbs — the others 
all made off into the sunset. 

Almost all the recent arrivals in the hos- 
pital have been operation cases. We are 


treating three trepanned heads, and all are 
going to live and think again. Sometimes I 
can hardly credit the fact that this woman, 
indifferent to blood and white bones and gan- 
grene horrors, is myself. I had been inside 
one hospital in my life, and that when I 
was the person who was ill. One of the men 
in pavilion four has lost his knee-bone, but 
there is a possibility, apparently, of screwing 
one on. Another has a beautiful new jaw of 
gutta-percha. Once we saw him smile, and 
the whole room rocked with the laughter of 
the others. But the doctor and I are very 
proud of him. 

On the whole, if it were not so tragic, 
things would be rather funny. Everything 
seems so stark, staring mad. The town is 
beginning to panic, and I don't blame it. 
An attempt is being made to institute a 
Coalition Government, but I doubt whether 
they will find any combination to coalesce. 
We hear rumours of an advancing German 
army of 800,000 men, and half the town 
thinks that the Bulgarians have already 
crossed the Danube. If anything really seri- 
ous happens we shall have great difficulty in 
getting away, for there are hardly any trains. 


It sounds impossible, but I was told to-day 
that we shall probably have to pack up and 
leave in forty-eight hours' time, to spend the 
winter in — well, we don't know where, but in 
the snow, anyway ! ! And this not because the 
Bulgars have crossed the frontier, but be- 
cause the Germans really have rushed the 
passes and are marching rapidly towards us. 

I shall, of course, leave all my belongings 
behind, but I am prevented from starting to 
pack them safely away because that would 
frighten the servants. I tried to think of a 
few little things to take away as souvenirs, 
and then gave up in despair. For what is the 
use of trying to take anything in the two 
steamer-trunks which is all that will be al- 
lowed for our household? If only we knew 
where we were going and how far, and 
whether by sea or land, things would be so 
much easier. 

We all had champagne to-night for dinner. 
Stocks are low, but if the Germans are really 
invading us — well, we certainly don't intend 
to leave anything worth having. We had a 
great discussion as to the rival merits of 
flight in a possible train or in our own visible 
motor. And we voted against the motor, for 


ball ba '."■ two hundred milei at Leai t to 
i ravel, and the motor i oal ! poiwible 
thai blow up the only i ailway line 

wlif/i the last moment come§< A Roumanian 
genera] came to tea and laid 
leave by night." I laid " v.!;' re to»" n<- 
answered "God knowi l ft yhicb /..< . en 
conraging I 

[f I don't pack loon, I know that wa ahall 
all start In a bnrry In the middle of the night 
for an unknown destination and Uiat I nhall 
bave time to collect nothing, On the other 
handy If I do pack, ive iball moat certainly 
: it here for veeki and end by not goin 
;jjj. Perbapa the n cond alternative 1 1 the 

i one, for one i unpack again 

i feel ah lolutely incoherent 

dei pi!': \.\n: pr/'Mcriil idttMH 

phere of ner rone nncei tali cling to the 

conviction that thin ot i eally be a 1 1*-" 1 

re are told. Po i ib] / every time that the 
Govei nment or the General I Itfi ' bad 

dreami in the night, we ahal! be ordered to 

(mate tfa Ithin tbii ty ii i bow i 

Bnt tbii ii onr I i m, and 

bonnd to ti irod 

that if ' my can hold ttu r< maining 

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unknown" — if we start. But we have been 
promised houses to live in, which complicates 
the packing. How on earth house-linen, 
clothes and sundries are to fit into two steam- 
er-trunks, I cannot conceive. 

Every time I go to the hospital nowadays 
the soldiers smile with pleasure and say: 
"So you have not yet run away?" They 
will be left behind, I suppose, poor wretches ; 
and one can do nothing. Still, in a way they 
will be better off than we are. For really the 
prospect does not smile. All supplies of 
necessaries in the town are fast giving out. 
A great many of the shops are shut, and 
people rush about the streets looking dis- 
tracted. Apparently we are going to lack 
soap, food and fuel, so we shall be dirty, 
hungry and cold. And this indefinitely, for 
if the Germans overrun the country, Russia 
will be far too busy supplying her own army 
to send us civilians anything at all, wherever 
we may happen to be. 

Meanwhile some of the passes are still 
intact, and one cannot help thinking that a 
great deal of fuss is, perhaps, being made 
about nothing at all. 

Later. — If this diary of mine does not tally 


At Her Loom 


with history when history comes to be writ- 
ten, it will not be my fault. We get no news 
at all from the outside world, consequently 
all we hear is rumour, and that contradicts 
itself every half -hour. We are now living in 
a house that is completely stripped of all but 
the barest necessities. Every time anybody 
wants anything, it has to be unpacked from 
the place, usually unfindable, where it was 
stowed away. It is now a week since we were 
told that we were leaving in forty-eight hours, 
and we are still here. I knew that that would 
happen. It took us two and a half days to 
reach this state of living, which touches the 
maximum of discomfort, and we shall prob- 
ably continue in it for a few months and then 
unpack again. 

The air raids have stopped. The last Zep- 
pelin dropped bombs on a German intern- 
ment camp, and sixteen fat Germans suc- 
cumbed as a result of this miscalculation. The 
rest of the interned have now been spread 
about all over the town, and spies have not 
delayed in passing on this information, which 
appears to have discouraged the raiders. 

The French General Staff is expected 
hourly, as are the Russian troops. On the 


whole, the population lias recovered remark- 
ably well from the recent panic. 

With the usual contradictoriness of human 
nature, I am convinced that this peaceful 
interval is only the lull before a very un- 
pleasant storm, and feel, for the first time, 
that we shall really have to evacuate the 
town. Last week was such a whirlwind of 
flurried conjecture that one had no time to 
think, but we are now preparing with serious 
forethought for the discomfort that lies 
ahead. The hospital still claims most of my 
time, but most of the original patients are 
convalescent, and few have come in just 

Our latest excitement has been the dis- 
covery by a member of the American Lega- 
tion of all kinds of horrors buried by the Ger- 
mans in the German Legation garden. Cases 
of dynamite were found and tubes containing 
disease germs. It sounds incredible, and will 
produce headlines a mile high in our English 
ha'penny Press. Consequently no one will 
credit the tale. But it is true, and I have 
spoken of the thing with a man who assisted 
at the excavation. 

What nobody seems to realise is that this 


interval should be taken advantage of for the 
destruction of the immense stores of corn and 
oil lying all over the country. Naturally one 
hesitates to destroy outward and visible as- 
sets, but it is imperative that the Germans 
should not get them. To the simple layman's 
mind the obvious thing to do would be to 
pour one over the other and burn both. But 
when I suggested this I was laughed at. In- 
superable difficulties lie in the way of destruc- 
tion owing to the fact that the granaries lie 
immense distances apart in the heart of the 
provinces, and that communications are com- 
pletely lacking. Effective measures would 
take weeks of time, which we will not be 

Later. — The news is bad again, and a sec- 
ond fiat has gone forth : we are to be deprived 
of our luggage, as evacuation is really im- 

I have never sr>ent an odder day. We 
packed jam and sugar and all available soap 
into every spare corner. We all frankly for- 
got our lunch until past two and then found 
nothing in the house, so went without. We 
were told that we had twelve hours to finish 
up in and that the boxes would be called for 


at midnight. Of all the many terrible pack- 
ings that I have done on Eastern caravan 
journeys, this has been infinitely the worst. 
I know that I will wish that I had sent none 
of the things which now seem indispensable 
and that I will need all which I left behind. I 
have racked my brains to think of a place for 
three precious bottles of champagne, and 
have decided to stow them in a hold-all with 
the family eiderdowns. The linen-trnnk is 
stuffed with jam — jam that came from Eng- 
land, and possibly the last that I shall ever 
eat. I get occasional attacks of maudlin sen- 
timent over small possessions which I am 
obliged to leave ; on the other hand, am aban- 
doning articles of considerable value without 
a qualm. Not a bed has been made in the 
whole house, and, once the luggage has gone, 
we shall have to camp out on sofas. 

I went to the kitchen to try and get a little 
tea, and when I came back found a large party 
of friends with their servants, luggage and 
children in the drawing-room, asserting 
cheerfully that they had come as they thought 
"it would be nicer for us all to go together." 
I'm in the state of mind where I would say 
' i Yes ' ' to anything until the moment arrived 


when I said "NO," then, if the person ar- 
gued, I would shoot it — I mean her — him. All 
the luggage is stacked in the drawing-room — 
train luggage, house luggage, friends' lug- 
gage, servants ' luggage. It is pandemonium. 

Now I am lying down waiting for tea. 
Every bone in my body, every nerve in my 
mind aches with excitement. Of the military 
situation the English papers could tell us 
more than we know ourselves, for we hear 
not one blessed thing. Except that the lug- 
gage goes to-night and we to-morrow — if only 
we knew where to ! ! 

Besides, the only certain thing is that the 
luggage goes to-night. For all we know the 
plans may have changed by to-morrow, and 
we shall be sitting here without one single 
practical belonging in the world. And then 
the problem will be to find us all sleeping 
accommodation, for there is a young army 
in the house. "We tell every one who comes 
to stay and camp out. If we start it will be 
all right; if we don't, there'll be all night to 
make beds in and all next day to unmake them 
in; and there is no soap and there are no 
towels, and there will most certainly be no 
hot water ever again, because I packed the 


last precious bundles of wood that remained 
to us into a suit-case with the boots ! 

We have just heard that there are 30,000 
people waiting at the station. There is only 
one station. If this is true, we have decided 
that they can take our luggage, that the 
Germans can arrive in their thousands, but 
we will not move into a crowd like that un- 
less we are pushed there — and pushed hard. 

The cook has appeared quite ready to start 
with six dead chickens hanging on a string 
from her arm. She says that they will be 
useful. We are now going to dine off cheese 
and go to bed to wait for to-morrow. 

Later. — We woke to find the luggage gone. 
My bed was funny : a little travelling cushion 
and myself upon it, covered with a dust-sheet 
and a fur coat. Everybody looks tired. And 
now we have been told that we are not going 
to-day and that it may not be necessary for 
us to go at all. I have told the cook to pre- 
pare two of her chickens. 

The luggage returned to us at eleven with 
the message that all heavy baggage leaves 
to-morrow. And now we don't know whether 
this means "no luggage van with us" or a 
' i trunk van on our train. " It is an important 


point. Should one keep necessary things back 
for the train and there turn out to be no van 
Oh dear ! I am tired. And the unpleas- 
ant fact remains that ajl our linen, clothes 
and blankets depart into vague and unknown 
space at five o'clock to-morrow, and that we 
get left with nothing except the clothes we 
stand up in, four dead chickens, and a pot of 
jam which I unpacked and opened this morn- 
ing when the trunks came home. 

In short, we stay here, notified each day, if 
a new pass falls, to "go at once." In this 
case we start, and probably get told when we 
reach the train that the pass has been walked 
back into again and that we are to stay. 

I went back to work after lunch, and found 
that a wounded Austrian prisoner had just 
been brought in. I asked him how they felt 
about the war in his country, and he answered 
in German: "Oh, it is sometimes a good war 
and often a bad one. I want to sleep." That 
is the way we all feel. The Queen is evacuat- 
ing her hospital, and now perhaps they will 
have a try to do the same with ours. 

A few English refugees turned up at our 
house to-day. One, a woman, said with a 
tearful smile: "Will my throat be cut?" I 


don't think she was sure herself whether she 
was joking or not. We are all in a sort of 
hysterical state and laugh at anything. And 
we certainly look very funny. The house 
looks odd too, for there are queer makeshifts 
in every room where people slept, and hosts 
of strange belongings. So long as the trunks 
are standing in a solid-looking pile in the hall 
and within reach one can afford to smile, but 
to-morrow at this hour things will look very 
different if they have gone and we are still 
here. People cling to such funny treasures on 
these occasions. One man has his pockets 
bulging with war-maps, and all the women 
rain powder-puffs from every receptacle. 
Servants clasp their food, and a few stray 
children who have turned up are surrounded 
by bottles of milk. The house has become an 
hotel, because we feel lost and bewildered and 
prefer to keep together, though there is little 

The streets are empty — not a cab is in 
sight. All the shutters are drawn in the 
shops, and the only sign of life is to be found 
about the hospitals. The weather is wonder- 
ful. Brilliant sunshine gives glow to the 
autumn tints, and the whole world is clean — 


smelling of recent rain and wind. When I 
think of the cold and the snow and the un- 
known miseries that are before ns all, of the 
disease which is bound to come, of this happy 
little town as I knew it first, barely a year 
ago, I want, like the Austrian soldier, to "go 
to sleep.' ' 


November 1916. — Half my prophecy came 
true: we are still sitting quite solidly in 
Bucarest. Luckily, however, our luggage 
never left us, for the panic quietened with in- 
credible rapidity and we were told that all 
danger was over. The Germans were re- 
pulsed at the frontier during the days that 
we got no news and have not advanced since. 
The French General Staff has arrived and 
installed itself in a manner which gives us 
confidence most disproportionate to the small 
amount which reason tells us that it is 
humanly capable of accomplishing. A Brit- 
ish aviator flew over in his aeroplane from 
Salonika, and this gives us the cheerful feel- 
ing that we are in touch with our own army. 
This despite the fact that a conquered Serbia 
lies between. The only direct consequence of 
the panic is that innumerable people seem to 
be lost, and the general mix-up is indescrib- 



able. I myself simply cannot understand why 
the Germans are not already here. 

It took us several days to reconstruct life 
along previous and already somewhat primi- 
tive principles. The various visiting families 
were sorted out and returned, together with 
their respective belongings, to their own 
homes. Necessities were extracted from our 
own trunks and we have resumed a normal 
existence, which comprises punctual though 
frugal meals and occasional baths. But the 
danger, to my mind, is by no means over, and 
only the top layers have been stirred in my 

Our hospital is full up again with new ar- 
rivals, and I work there daily. The men 
are dears, and I have discovered that a few 
parcels of cheap sweets distributed make up 
for long hours of almost unbearable suffer- 
ing. The few amongst them who can read in- 
variably choose the Bible or prayer-books 
from out the literature at their disposal. Un- 
fortunately I don't know enough of the lan- 
guage to ask them consecutive questions 
about their experiences, but I doubt whether 
they would be capable of coherent answering. 
All look dazed and worried when fighting is 


mentioned. We have been entirely without 
news again for a week, and somehow we en- 
visage from this disturbing happenings in the 
near future. We have been strongly advised 
to keep all belongings packed in case of a sud- 
den emergency, because the next time the 
Germans advance in force they will be so near 
that we shall have but a few hours' notice, 
and it will not be a false alarm. The direct 
result of this is that it makes one nervous to 
leave the house at all. It would be so upset- 
ting to come home one day and find every- 
thing gone! The only thing left to do is to 
try and appreciate the humorous side of life 
as we are living it. 

Letters arrive from home written by people 
who know the wealth of this country, urging 
us to burn the corn — as if we kept it in a 
little box on our writing-tables ! All energies 
are concentrated with trying to impress the 
people with the urgent necessity of doing so 
and of breaking up the petrol plants. It is 
hard to make them understand that the 
German invasion has only been delayed a 
little and that it will surely come. One can 
only be thankful for this short respite, which 
gives them a chance of making the enemy 


conquest less lucrative for him than it would 
otherwise have proved. But the country folk 
refuse to destroy their property. They say 
that the British Bureau can destroy its own 
and that they will offer every facility but no 
actual help, whatever such ambiguity may 
mean. It is hard to blame them : corn stands 
to them for past, present and future existence, 
and one must be superhuman willingly to 
annihilate all three. 

Later, — We are now completely stranded 
in an almost deserted town, for our belong- 
ings have actually left us. Indelibly branded 
upon my mind is a moonlit picture of a Gov- 
ernment servant perched high on a mountain 
of trunks piled in inextricable confusion at 
dead of night into the motor-lorry that finally 
arrived, at half an hour's notice, to take them 
away. The man bumped off into the night 
surrounded by bottles of drinking water and 
waving farewell with a fresh-lit cigarette that 
glowed a cheerful red as he disappeared 
round a corner of the road. It seems quite 
impossible that we shall ever see him or his 
inanimate charges again, for we do not know 
where they went. Of our own departure we 


hear nothing ; in fact, the news is supposed to 
be better again to-day. 

The youngest son of the Queen has died 
after terrible suffering. At such a moment it 
seems almost more than a woman should be 
asked to bear. Nevertheless his mother still 
works at the hospitals, and her soldiers love 
to see her. 

One of our English aviators, newly arrived, 
turned up to-day after having been lost for 
nearly a week. Apparently he has had a most 
exciting time. After landing in Bulgaria by 
accident, he was chased by soldiers and 
managed to get into the air again, although 
his compass was out of order. He then dis- 
covered a river and descended low towards it, 
only to get shot at by a monitor. Instead of 
flying away, he pursued the boat and razed 
it with his machine-gun until the crew jumped 
into the water. He finally made a guess at 
the direction of "home," and got there!! 
He reports a "gorgeous time," and fell upon 
food here after three days' fast. This kind 
of story cheers everybody up. 

Now that the trunks have really gone and 
we are left with nothing but the clothes we 
stand up in, makeshift beds our only resting- 


~r * 


place and ourselves fireless and uncomfort- 
able, things seem to have really quietened 
down. We get innumerable Zepp alarms and 
occasional raids have begun again, but the 
constant presence of a few armed machines of 
our own has shaken the wonderful German 
nerve considerably, and their men usually 
make off without having done any serious 
damage. The Roumanian army is fighting 
magnificently on all the fronts, and there is 
just a chance of our holding out. 

But the whole traffic of the country is nat- 
urally terribly disorganised, and really one 
wonders why anything gets done. A man 
who had to go to the Russian frontier 
recently on business took fifty hours to ac- 
complish a journey that once took twelve. 
The poor wretch had to stand all the way be- 
tween two windows in a train of fifty car- 
riages, crowded inside and on the roof. He 
arrived back more dead than alive, having 
paid two francs for one slice of bread, and 
obtained no other food. If a big rush comes, 
it will be terrible on that single railway line, 
and I fear that hundreds will succumb. 

Bucarest has become a veritable Tower of 
Babel. The streets are full of foreign uni- 


forms all rushing in different directions and 
looking very busy. We are told that further 
quantities of French and British officers are 
due, also detachments of motor ambulances 
and Red Cross units. But the difficulties in 
the way of their actual movements are stu- 
pendous. A British Red Cross hospital, com- 
plete, with twenty-eight doctors and nurses, 
has indeed been heard of somewhere on its 
way out from home, but they are all stuck 
somewhere on the road and quite untraceable. 
When one hears of contretemps like this and 
sees the daily horrors due to just the lack of 
the things which we know to be coming and 
which never seem to come, one grows discour- 
aged beyond words. 

I have been visiting other hospitals lately 
with a view to getting a general idea of con- 
ditions and supplies. The whole system is 
so disorganised that there is no need even 
for an official permit for such expeditions. 
Anybody is allowed to go anywhere, provided 
that one does not look like a German. I had 
been under the impression that our own hos- 
pital was primitive, but, alas ! it is luxurious 
and well stocked compared to the others that 
I saw. The two best and grandest were over- 


crowded in treble proportion to their powers 
of accommodation, but they had, at least, an 
atmosphere of antiseptics and stereotyped 
surroundings; all the others were pathetic. 
The men lay on the ground, which was cov- 
ered with wooden boards. Some shared a 
mattress with four or five others, the rest 
lay without even a pillow to their heads. It 
was obvious that they had not been attended 
to for hours ; this not from neglect, but for 
the reason that the doctors are working night 
and day to keep belated pace with the 
wounded who arrive in batches of several 
hundreds at a time. I passed the station, 
where a trainload of them had just come in. 
They lay out in the waste ground behind the 
building, in full sunlight, pitiful in their help- 
lessness. They had no water and no food, 
just a few cigarettes, and I did not hear one 
single moan or complaint. I was told that 
these were the lucky ones, for arrangements 
had been made for them to be called for be- 
fore sunset. During the short half-hour I 
spent there we had an air raid— quite a bad 
one. Over thirty bombs dropped near us, but 
fortunately no one was hurt, though one of 
the ladies who had come to distribute a little 


food and drink was nearly buried by an ex- 

I am told on all sides that the chloroform 
will shortly give out, even though it is most 
sparingly used. As for the ordinary hospital 
requisites, they are simply non-existent. 
From the point of view of the unfortunate 
wounded, my expedition brought me to the 
pessimistic conclusion that it would be a god- 
send to them if the Germans captured the 
town. Therein lies their only hope of ob- 
taining supplies. 

Later. — The news is bad again, and the 
advancing Germans are reported to be in the 
plains and well over the Austrian frontier. 
Up to the present moment there are no signs 
of panic, and it is possible now that there 
will not be another even if we do have to 
leave in a hurry. For the population has not 
only learnt a lesson during the first scare, 
but also it has had time to get used to the 
idea that the loss of a capital does not nec- 
essarily mean the loss of a country. I fancy 
that a great proportion of the society people 
who have nothing to do with the Court or 
with the Government will not attempt to leave 
the capital even if the Germans arrive. What 


would be the object? They are non-com- 
batants and can do the Germans no possible 
harm, and it will serve the Roumanian cause 
better to leave every facility for those who 
have to go and " carry on" in whatever place 
they may finally land in, which place will be 
the less overcrowded for each individual who 
stays behind. 

The warning has once again gone round to 
all who will have to leave when the moment 
comes for them to hold themselves in readi- 
ness for an immediate start, and I believe 
that, at the slightest further enemy advance, 
we shall really be off at last. The Queen has 
sent her children to the country, where they 
are supposed to be out of the immediate dan- 
ger of air raids. She herself intends to re- 
main here until the last minute, and is 
wonderfully plucky and calm. 

A curious sort of social life has begun 
again, though business is at a standstill. 
Bucarest was obliged to release several hun- 
dred interned German clerks, as they were 
the only ones who could carry on the enter- 
prises started before the war. A dangerous 
proceeding, but there was nothing else to 
do. They stand about in groups in the Calea 


Vittorese, talking German, and made me so 
angry one day when I went for a walk that 
I went home and shut myself np. It was ap- 
parently absolutely vital to allow them their 
freedom — even the banks had not the per- 
sonnel to work without them. 

The Roumanians are optimistic as a race 
and fight instinctively against depression, but 
they like to be cheerful en bande, and become 
gloomy, individually, when they find them- 
selves alone. So there are plenty of friendly 
little tea-parties, where the only thing lacking 
is the tea and the food that habitually sup- 
ports it. Men, women and children alike 
work all day, but, when evening comes, they 
foregather and even make a little music. It 
is then that the wildest rumours spread. The 
French and British officers are very popular, 
and one meets them on terms of intimacy 
with their hosts wherever they find time to 
go. One sees less of the Russians. 

The air raids, although ineffective in most 
cases, are annoying. They frighten the 
wounded and upset the people, whose nerves 
are still jumpy from the shadow of evacua- 
tion. And they keep alive in us, who would 
otherwise be tranquil, a constant fear of what 


is still to come. My personal opinion is that 
the Government would do well to evacuate 
this town now, and as quickly and quietly as 
possible, so as to avoid the rush when the last 
moment comes, as it most inevitably will. It 
is so hard to know what to believe nowadays. 
One is told at breakfast that the Germans are 
well on their way back to Austria, and then 
hears after lunch that their scouts have been 
seen near Bucarest. One makes no plans for 
the morrow, and just lives on from day to day 
with the frightened feeling that all is not so 
well as we are told, and that we shall have a 
very complete and sudden awakening soon 
from the present interval of peace and quiet. 

Later. — Quite an excitement!!! All the 
whistles are blowing madly and all the bells 
are ringing. This heralds another big raid. 
I wonder if it will really come off; we have 
not had a serious one for weeks, and one has 
begun to mistrust all these warnings which so 
often culminate in nothing. 

Yes, here they come. The big new guns 
do make a noise compared to the miserable 
little pops we used to hear. Blase as I have 
grown, this is unusually thrilling, and I am 
going out to see what is happening. 


Later. — Well, that was the worst attack we 
have ever had. It lasted well over an hour. 
Bombs fell near the Bank and the Post Office; 
and, of course, in the vicinity of every hos- 
pital. The town dies away nowadays at the 
first alarm, the streets empty as if by magic, 
consequently few people are killed. Appar- 
ently thirteen bombs exploded in the garden 
of the country house where the Royal chil- 
dren were sent last week, but nobody was 
hurt, although the house was hit. Even the 
fires which started were safely extinguished. 
It must have been a narrow escape, and 
proves how well informed are the Germans 
of all current events. 

Now that the excitement is over, we have 
other and more important things to think 
about, for the order has come to start, and 
to start as soon as possible, for Jassy. "We 
are to be allowed to take some extra luggage 
with us, and are told that the original cases, 
despatched a fortnight or so ago, will be 
waiting for us when we arrive. It all sounds 
too good to be true after the scanty attention 
which we had expected to receive, and I am 
more thankful than I can say that the time 
for moving has really come. We have ran- 


sacked the few shops that still do business, 
and bought up any remaining stores. There 
is no point in leaving anything for the Ger- 
mans. Up to the present there is no sign of 
panic. We feel almost as if we were going 
off for a long week-end, as the absence of all 
heavy luggage makes everything easier. 

I went to the hospital for the last time, 
though the men did not realise it a bit. They 
have not been told that the Germans are 
within marching distance of the town. 
Where's the use? It would only frighten 
them, and they already have enough to bear. 
They will discover it soon, and one hopes that 
they will not suffer. I hated leaving the men 
who were making good recoveries; one has 
learnt to take such a personal interest in the 
hard cases and to know all their little idio- 
syncrasies so well that one has grown fond 
of them as individuals. They seem so forlorn 
somehow, and stranded. 

A few sportsmen have started off on ex- 
peditions to encourage the peasants to de- 
stroy as much corn as they can manage to set 
alight. Apparently a good deal has already 
been accomplished on the quiet, and we still 
have a few clear days ahead in which much 


can be done. All that we hear now is rumour 
fantastic. The Government keeps its own 
counsel and refuses to give any information 
beyond the announcement that all British 
subjects would do well to leave Bucarest as 
quickly as possible, and that arrangements 
are being made for their journey, and for 
the small amount of baggage that remains 
to them. Nothing is said about the kind of 
accommodation we are likely to find in Jassy. 
It is a town which bears the same relation- 
ship to the capital as does Norwich to Lon- 
don, and was already slightly over-populated 
before the war. I was there once in the 
autumn of last year, and recall a sort of pre- 
tentious village of low-lying plaster houses 
each one of which was surrounded by a gar- 
den. Gardens are nice adjuncts to country 
life, but they do not promise enticing accom- 
modation for winter months. There is in 
us all the worrying premonition that those 
amongst us who are not the very first arrivals 
there will have a quite remarkably uncom- 
fortable time!! However, as there is only 
going to be one train and we shall, conse- 
quently, arrive together at Jassy station, the 
confusion can only begin when we get there, 


so the only thing left for us to do as prep- 
aration is to learn how best to grab our hand- 
luggage and run. 

We are all cheerful, and opinion is unani- 
mous that it is satisfactory to be moving at 
last. I do not think that the populace has 
been told that the exodus is imminent. The 
town is far too quiet. When the real rush 
begins, there are bound to be terrible scenes. 

News has just come of a steady German 
advance and that the need for haste is very 


December 1916, Jassy. — Well, we have 
reached Jassy, and have not yet recovered 
from the surprise of having actually got 
somewhere and being able to sit down. 

Early in the morning of our last day in 
Bucarest, we sallied forth into the almost 
deserted streets and collected two cabs after 
nearly an hour's search. We locked them 
bodily into our own courtyard, so as to make 
certain of their actuality. At 1.30 we heard 
that there was a real panic in the town, and 
we were advised to leave our house for the 
station at five o 'clock. It was stated that the 
luggage — what remained of it — would be 
called for at two. At 5.20 we were still sit- 
ting dejectedly on top of it — naturally noth- 
ing had come. Time was a very serious 
object, and we decided to abandon all save 
the tea-baskets and travelling blankets, which 
could be piled into our two precious vehicles. 

At the station we found a seething crowd 



and a train standing, into which all Bucarest 
wa3 trying to get. I positively refused to 
board it or even go near it, feeling somehow 
that there must be another one somewhere. 
We found the station-master and told him 
that we were foreigners, and he led us 
through dark passages (by this time it was 
six o'clock) to a distant platform, where we 
found a long line of carriages, engineless, 
dark and locked. Apparently no notice had 
been received that foreigners and diplomats 
were really leaving. We established our- 
selves firmly on the step of one of the wagons 
and sent into the town for a key. Within 
half an hour we were standing fighting for 
that carriage; it took that amount of time 
for others to find the empty train. The key 
arrived and we surged in, a seething mass of 
people, moving in waves. The doors were 
banged on the coat-tails of the last man in, 
and the train started before we had even 
formed a proper queue in the passage. Most 
of the women were offered seats, the rest of 
the passengers stood or lay on the floor 
amongst the baggage; there was no water, 
there was no light, there was no food. The 
clock had been put back a year or so and we 


were back in Serbia on our journey to the 
Danube, only there were fourteen people in 
the carriage instead of eight. Russian sol- 
diers were encamped in their hundreds on the 
platforms of the stations where we stopped ; 
Russian nurses travelled with us in the din- 
ing-car; Russian officers stood in the passages 
and came in at intervals to ask our business 
— these were the Russians who had begun to 
arrive too late. It was pandemonium let 
loose. Those few who had tea-baskets fed the 
others who had none. Again and again until 
I was bored silly, my poor little kettle boiled 
until it boiled itself out and died. One man 
had bought a string of sausages during those 
last frantic minutes at the Bucarest station, 
and a Russian officer produced some bread 
and a little chocolate. That is all the food 
that fourteen people shared for twenty hours ! 
What happened in the other carriages I can- 
not even imagine. There was no communica- 
tion possible, for the passage-way between 
the compartments was completely blocked. 
The journey from Bucarest to Jassy lasts 
nine hours in normal times : in the twentieth 
hour of our journey we steamed into the sta- 
tion there, to find that the prefect of the town 


had not been warned that refugees were com- 
ing and that nothing was forthcoming, 
neither accommodation nor food ! ! 

We sat at the station for four solid hours, 
whilst all the people who had any energy left 
after our shattering night made rows in all 
directions. Where's the use of making rows 
on these occasions? It seemed to my mind 
of far greater importance to hunt for food. 
After all, one can sleep anywhere provided 
that one is sufficiently tired, and the Lord 
knows that we were that, but food is a seri- 
ous consideration. I found some, of sorts, in 
the secondary buffet of the station. A howl- 
ing mob came and went, and I fought most 
fiercely for two slices of bread and a slab 
of chocolate. Two ramshackle cabs subse- 
quently appeared from nowhere and were be- 
sieged. No one could attain them, and so we 
decided to become sensible and form a queue. 
We went off in batches of four at a time, 
those two miserable horses making trips until 
one of them lay down. The prefect stood out- 
side the station entrance giving the drivers 
addresses where to go. When we arrived at 
the place allotted to us, we found one room 
and no bed — it was the sitting-room of a 


suburban villa. We bad remained more or 
less cbeerful until that moment, but it 
brought rebellion. There comes a time when 
one will accept no more, and we decided in 
our desperation to spend the night in the cab 
which had brought us, and which was at- 
tempting to sneak back to the station and 
fetch more tenants for that single room. Rea- 
son came to our rescue, and we returned inside 
it to the station to make inquiries about our 
luggage, which was supposed to have arrived 
at Jassy weeks before. The station-master 
was vague and distracted in his information, 
nevertheless he gave us the address of an 
Englishman living in Jassy who had received 
a large consignment of Bucarest baggage a 
few days previously. By this time it was 
pitch dark, but we climbed back undaunted 
into the faithful cab. Even the tea-baskets 
were still with us. The horses began to move 
in a sort of staggery fashion, but when we 
reached the foot of a steep cobbled hill which 
stretched into seeming infinity ahead of the 
carriage, they jibbed and refused to budge 
another inch. We got out and walked on for 
about half a mile according to the driver's 
instructions. An amazed Englishman opened 


the door of a depressingly tiny house and we 
proceeded to explain almost hysterically fast, 
incoherent from terror lest he should close it 
upon us before we had time to finish. Yes, 
it was all right, our luggage was there I 
could even see bits of it in the hall; and the 
man invited us in. But we could see that 
something was worrying him, and when we 
got inside we found out what that something 
was. Two shake-down beds filled the tiny 
drawing-room and two British officers in 
pyjamas filled the beds. They had just 
arrived from Russia, and looked very nice 
and big and reliable. The house looked nice 
too, and warm and comfortable, and our faces 
must have told the owners that we had no in- 
tention whatsoever of leaving it, because they 
made no attempt to turn us out. 

The two heavenly-looking beds were evacu- 
ated and turned out to be emergency sofas. 
The officers disappeared with their sleeping- 
bags into what was probably the pantry, and 
we sat up on the sofas drinking bread-and- 
milk. It was nice to see our boxes lying 
about, and we felt friendly towards the whole 
world. We had reached that form of hysteri- 
cal weariness in which one can do nothing but 


laugh, until, if one is a woman, one cries; 
and our kind hosts, realising this, departed 
and left us to the sofas and to a really won- 
derful sleep. 

This morning a great many of our fellow- 
travellers keep on turning up. No one quite 
likes to inquire of them how they spent the 
night in view of our own obvious good for- 
tune. Our servants, at least a few of them, 
have appeared mysteriously from nowhere. 
They can only hold up their hands and gasp 
when the journey is mentioned. Most of 
them discovered our refuge and slept on the 
floor of the kitchen. I don't think that any 
house in the world has ever had such a dis- 
proportionate number of people in it as has 
this one and so little food! Butter costs 
twenty francs a pound, and there is nothing 
else to be got except black bread. It is soft 
and fresh and I love it, but one can't live on 
it for ever. Of course, things cannot remain 
in this condition; in fact, the prefect came 
round this morning to say that we are to be 
given a house — a real house — of our own, and 
that soon. At present we are still waifs and 
strays at the mercy of people's kindness. 

Refugees fill the town, there is not a room 


to be had, and the real influx from Bucarest 
has not yet begun to arrive, far less that 
from the surrounding districts. Only two 
trains have come in, our own and the other 
which was in the Bucarest station when we 
left it. Telegrams from people who are lost 
are beginning to arrive, and one wire reached 
me from Bucarest to say that my motor was 
on its way and might be in Jassy within two 
days' time. The chauffeur, however, has 
always been an optimist. Luckily one of the 
servants who turned up this morning was the 
cook. She had succeeded in bringing three 
ducks with her intact, and so we are able to 
repay some of the hospitality so unceremoni- 
ously commandeered with a little food for 
the household. 

This country town which has so suddenly 
been called upon to turn into a capital is by 
no means fitted for the part. Situated as it 
is close to the big oil-fields, it was already 
overcrowded before the war broke out, and 
the builders have been trying vainly for the 
last two years to keep pace with the steadily 
growing importance of the place. It is ex- 
actly like seeing a country bumpkin dressed 
up in evening clothes as one finds them 


parodied on the musical comedy stage. Stone 
palaces built in modern Russian style brush 
the mud walls of peasant huts. The streets 
straggle about without aim or object and lead 
nowhere ; there are hardly any shops. There 
is, or rather was, one restaurant near the 
station. I say was, because there will soon 
be nothing left of it. People literally be- 
siege its doors, and the walls shake from the 
influx of the crowd. It offers practically 
nothing to eat. I met an unhappy couple who 
had struggled for two hours in the hungry 
throng, and who had finally succeeded in 
snatching a loaf of bread and a glass of min- 
eral water, for which they were never asked 
to pay, as they never arrived within reach 
of the counter. What is going to happen 
when the rest of the refugees arrive from 
Bucarest, no one knows. 

I believe that the Court got here this morn- 
ing, but has not been seen. One presumes 
that the Royal Family at least will be given 
a roof to cover it. I tremble to think what 
would have happened to us had not these 
dear people taken pity on our plight. Dozens 
of our fellow-travellers are still wandering 
forlornly about in a despairing search for 


rooms. Our arrival was totally unexpected, 
as Jassy had been without news from the 
capital for two days. No one knows what is 
happening in Bucarest, or how near the 
Germans are, or whether those left behind 
will still have time to get away. 

This town is full of Russians, and one 
hardly feels as if one was in Roumania. The 
frontier is pleasantly close, and its proximity 
gives one a certain feeling of security, be- 
cause, for all we know, we may be flying 
towards it in two or three days ' time. I don 't 
see anything at present that looks as if it 
were going to stop an advancing German 
army, nor did I along the whole route we 
travelled yesterday. We live in an absolutely 
distracted whirlwind of uncertainty. 

Later. — I do not know the day of the month 
or the week! We have spent three night- 
mare periods of time sleeping when and 
where we could, fighting for our food amidst 
struggling masses of humanity, unwashed 
and underfed. 

And now, at last, there is peace. Peace, at 
least, for us, for we have been allotted a 
house, a palace, with six rooms and a garden 
in front of it where flowers grow. It has a 


black hole in the cellar for a kitchen, and no 
servants' accommodation whatsoever. There 
is a shanty attached where we have stored the 
motor (which arrived in the middle of one 
night), the chauffeur, our empty boxes and 
the servants. They are not very comfortable, 
but they are better off than are most of their 

I don't know whom this house belongs to. 
My bed is made of pink-and-orange plush, 
and the room is decorated with plaster col- 
umns. The fireplace is built into the wall in 
an alcove at the height of my waist. It is 
supported with carved scrolls and bits of 
plastered woodwork that looks like organ pip- 
ing. A quarter log of wood will just squeeze 
into the opening if one pushes hard, but we 
have not had the courage as yet to make fires 
— or beds. The kitchen has two plaster holes 
cut into the wall with an iron shelf across the 
top for a stove ; the beds have no mattresses 
and no pillows. It is easier to live on bread 
and to sleep under rugs. Naturally no water 
runs, because there are no pipes anywhere, 
and all that we have we go and fetch our- 
selves from the pump that we have been lucky 
enough to find in the back yard. There are 


no bells, and the electric light only half works. 
That is to say, in some of the rooms it does 
not light at all, and in the others it lights 
half-heartedly and then goes out ; personally 
I prefer the former, because one can prepare 
for it with candles. At present we have a 
good stock of candles, because I had the fore- 
thought to visit the nearest church and buy 
up all the wax tapers they had in 
stock. "When they give out I don't know what 
will happen. 

I have discovered that the Queen is lodged 
with her children in a tiny house just outside 
the town. Now that she is provided for it is 
possible that most of the people who came 
through on our train will find accommodation 
of some sort or other, though none of them 
can hope for anything but miserable discom- 
fort. We ourselves have realised, and 
quickly too, how quite extraordinarily lucky 
we are. 

A wire has reached us from some English 
friends in Bucarest saying that they had been 
waiting for twenty hours at the station with- 
out hope of a train, and that it was now 
rumoured that all trains are to be stopped, 
because Jassy could not hold more than the 


crowds who are already on their way; to my 
mind, Jassy cannot possibly manage more 
people than are already here, and I think that 
it could easily dispense with a few thousand 
of those. The Germans are said to be twenty 
kilometres from Bucarest now, in which case 
they will be in the town within the next 
three days. There has been an enormous 
exodus on foot from the capital, we are told, 
quite apart from the hundreds who have left 
it in motors and carriages. All are on their 
way here, of course, and I cannot conceive 
how we are all to go on as we are living. It 
is past laughing. I can laugh if I am not 
hungry, but I am always hungry here. Our 
house food has given out, and we have had 
our last two meals at the restaurant. For 
lunch we secured an egg each and some bread, 
after an hour's fight for a plate — to be quite 
accurate, half an hour by the station clock. 

No one knows where anybody else is living, 
and one meets people by accident only in the 
street. They are always running frantically 
so as to get ahead of some one else for some- 
thing. One hardly remembers one's own 
address consecutively, and most people 
change it every day, because they are contin- 


ually in the process of being handed on. 
There are hardly any cabs, and those few 
one sees invariably have four or five Russian 
officers sitting inside them. Never was there 
such discomfort, though there has been, of 
course, much greater misery. But for the 
former this life beats anything that one could 
ever have imagined. Our journey through 
Serbia wasn't in it; there, at least, we were 
always getting on and away, and with a haven 
in view; but here — well, we are just here, and, 
as far as we can judge of the situation, it 
can only get worse. 

The servants wear expressions, one and all, 
which one had learnt to associate with family 
funerals. The women tell me that they have 
blue bruises all over them from sleeping on 
the floor. None of them have had anything 
to eat all day, and they one and all look 
extraordinarily dirty. This, however, is what 
we do ourselves. We did not bring much in 
the way of supplies, even in the original 
luggage which preceded us, as space was 
limited and we needed it all for blankets and 
house linen, so now we are " saving our un- 
derclothes, ' ' for we shall certainly be unable 
to have anything washed for weeks. 


I possess two boxes of English soap, which 
have to be guarded as if they contained the 
Crown Jewels. We allow ourselves a soap 
wash once a day, and even then the cake 
dwindles visibly. We have not had a bath 
since we started, and see no prospect of ever 
having another. The men decided to visit 
the public baths which exist, it appears, in 
the town, but one of the newly arrived Eng- 
lish doctors flew round on a bicycle warning 
them each in turn not to go, because there was 
an epidemic of mange amongst the poor who 
patronised the establishments. Nice place, 
Jassy! And we have got to live here now 
until the war is over! 

Luckily we are having wonderful weather 
and the streets are dry. What they will be 
like when the snow comes, I tremble to think. 
The air is cold, but it is still the fresh cold of 
late autumn; snow seldom falls here before 
January, and perhaps, by that time, we shall 
have been able to arrange for heating and 
hot water in some primitive way. I must 
confess that I don't quite see how this is 
going to be managed, but one's brain becomes 
singularly fertile of inventions when one is 
thrown upon one's own resources like this. 


We have gone back to primitive life in more 
ways than one. As a first step, we have fallen 
quite naturally into a system of exchange and 
barter. I worked a profitable transaction this 
morning by bargaining one of my precious 
cakes of soap for a Dutch cheese and a dried 
fish from the Danube. This will feed us for 
two days, if carefully eked out with jam. Our 
house has become a sort of Bureau where the 
lost English congregate and find their rela- 
tions. People wander in and out forlornly at 
every hour of the day, and leave their lug- 
gage for an hour or so whilst they go and 
forage for food and lodging. Occasionally 
they repay us by bringing back a loaf of 
bread or a pot of native jam which they have 
had the luck to appropriate on their expedi- 
tion. And then we share it, sitting on the 
floor or on the beds. There are no chairs in 
this house as yet ; we have been told that we 
may get some to-morrow when the owner has 
had time to sort them out from amongst his 
superfluous belongings. Where he and his 
family have taken refuge no one seems to 
know. They must hate us for turning them 
out, but the pill is in truth gilded, for they 
are remarkably well paid for it. Rents are 


quite prohibitive, and people can invite the 
most fantastic prices for the veriest hovels 
and obtain their extortions without question. 

Later. — A dishevelled spectacle of what 
was once a moderately well organised hos- 
pital has turned up from Bucarest. That is 
to say that the beds, linen and a few of the 
precious stores arrived in separate train- 
loads convoyed by the doctors. All the 
wounded had to be left behind. I was told 
to return to work, and went. 

It was immediately obvious that there was 
urgent need to collect every scrap of mate- 
rial existent in this depleted town which could 
possible be made to serve in the future, and 
so the chief surgeon and I hired a cab which 
held him comfortably and me hardly at all, 
and we asked the prefect to order the driver 
not to desert us under pain of capital pun- 
ishment. Thus we sallied forth to probe the 
shopping resources of Jassy. Behind the 
first counter we were received with upraised 
hands and the announcement that "nothing 
could be bought because nothing remained to 
sell." However, we refused to accept such 
a depressing ultimatum, and turned ourselves 
into a combined foraging and requisitioning 


party. "We opened drawers and boxes and 
invaded cellars and back rooms, whilst the 
dumfounded shopmen stood by in speechless 
fury. Honestly, I cannot myself understand 
in retrospect how it came about that we were 
allowed to do as we did. But our energy was 
rewarded. We discovered fourteen yards of 
invaluable rubber tubing in a bicycle repair 
shop, and all the catgut we needed in a vio- 
lin-maker's store. It is wonderful what 
imagination will do for one in an emergency ! ! 
I unearthed 3000 yards of curious stuffs for 
miscellaneous use in making bandages, com- 
presses and operation towels, etc., and my 
friend the doctor has a private machine for 
rolling the first of these. In fact, we col- 
lected such a quantity of useful things that 
the packages swamped our little cab, and we 
were obliged to hold up and commandeer a 
passing private motor which, luckily, be- 
longed to a generous-minded owner, who did 
not object to taking the things home for us. 
I consider that we had a thoroughly success- 
ful day, which was unfortunately spoilt, from 
my own point of view, because I fell into a 
hole in one of the sidewalks and became so 
interested in extricating myself that I 


dropped my bag which contained my money 
and the keys of all my trunks. When I dis- 
covered the loss, I could naturally no longer 
locate the hole. So now the boxes which had 
not yet been unpacked will have to be broken 
open, and that is the last straw ! 

Within the next few days we hope to have 
the hospital in working order again. There 
is cause for gratitude in that the enormous 
quantities of stores which are expected from 
England daily did not arrive when they were 
first hoped for, three or four weeks ago. We 
can now catch them en route for their orig- 
inal destination, whereas they would other- 
wise have been lost for ever as far as we are 
concerned, though the Germans would have 
benefited hugely thereby. 

The streets are so crowded with Russians 
of every age and denomination that one 
hardly finds the indigenous population, which 
has most wisely retired behind its own locked 
front doors. 

And more Russians pour in quite steadily 
from the north, whilst increasing numbers of 
refugees flock from the south. It is really 
interesting to find out how many hundreds 


an overcrowded town can hold after it has 
doubly overreached the limit. 

Everything is confusion confounded — and 
everybody is hungry. 


December 1916. — The situation, from a 
state of things chaotic, but directly traceable, 
has become completely and absolutely ob- 
scure. An ominous silence broods over us, 
not a telegram has come through for a week, 
and we are in the blackest ignorance of every- 
thing except Jassy. I have unpacked noth- 
ing. For all that we know, the Germans may 
be advancing upon us rapidly. This time, 
evacuation would mean — just the clothes we 
stand up in, and a few motors ploughing 
through a marsh of mud. For it has begun to 
snow and to rain and to blow angry autumn 
winds. The Russians have occupied this town 
and commandeered the hospitals. Provided 
that they hold at the front, it is the best thing 
that could possibly have happened to us. If 
they don't, it will prove to be the very worst, 
because people don't bother about other peo- 
ple when things go wrong. 

The General Staff is established in a vil- 


lage well within motoring distance of our- 
selves, but no news arrives except by hand, 
and then it treats of business only, and busi- 
ness was ever discreet. 

As far as our material comfort is con- 
cerned, we are living in clover compared to 
what our friends are obliged to put up with. 
Our cook has managed to establish communi- 
cation with a farm just outside the town and 
refuses to divulge the address. Her wisdom 
is proven, for ours is the only household 
where we are able to keep up the fiction of 
regular meals. Further, one member of the 
household gets a hot bath in rotation every 
day. It takes several hours to prepare and 
forms the subject of conversation for empty 
pauses — what it is going to feel like, what it 
did feel like, whether A's bath was better 
than B's, etc., etc. And it is difficult not to 
become pretentious on the strength of it. A 
never-ending stream of people of all classes 
passes through our door, the house has be- 
come a sort of club — it is the only building 
that manages to look like a resting-place in 
the town, and the cook occasionally invites 
strangers to assist at the birth of a cake. I 
have collected six wooden tables in the hall. 


They stand in rows, and everything happens 
on them. In fact, one marvels at people hav- 
ing worked themselves np over any further 
form of furniture. It is so easy to point to 
a table when one is asked: "Where is your 
office, or bed, or cupboard, or kitchen f " and 
answer: "You'll find it on the big, or little, 
or white, or brown table.' 9 

I discovered that a quondam friend of mine 
had landed with her whole family somewhere 
in our street, and sallied forth yesterday to 
pay a call. Formerly she had owned, and 
cared for, a large country house on the out- 
skirts of Bucarest, where we had often gone 
to dance after dinner. Apparently the fight- 
ing centred there when the Germans arrived, 
and those peasants who ran were shot down. 
She has lost everything; and I remember 
that, almost as intensely as she loved her 
possessions, she loved her peasants. I came 
home and — the words must be written — re- 
tired to my room and was violently sick. This 
after training in a hospital of carnage where 
I haven't felt a qualm. Human beings are 
such funny things. She looked so sad when 
she spoke of individual bits of furniture and 
sketches made in her garden that I suddenly 


recalled all the little belongings which I had 
myself found so easy to leave behind and be- 
came almost hysterical. Really, to leave all 
that one owns is quite disgusting when dis- 
sected. Que fais-je dans cette galeref And 
now it is whispered that we may have to pack 
and run again, run faster, carry less, and 
have further to go. I cannot really believe 
it. Russians keep pouring through Jassy, not 
in hundreds but in thousands, and, even if 
they don't fight, their bulk will stand between 
us and the Germans, and the latter may only 
look at them and then stand still. 

Even German soldiers, victorious and ad- 
vancing, must eventually be tempted by the 
insidious invitation of that last thought. I 
had pictured actual warfare as enthusiasm, 
glory, heroism, exaltation, what one wills, 
but not as this irresistible craving for rest. 
The very word wakes in one a sort of wonder, 
and one has learnt to comprise therein the 
first childish idea of heaven — a splendid, 
golden sleep. 

Later. — Last night we visited at sunset 
such a scene of horror as can never, and 
should never, be described. A train from 
Bucarest — the last to start — overladen with 


overweary destitution, paralysed already at 
the start with poverty, ignorance and fear — 
from which description one can snrmise that 
there were in it many women — collided and 
derailed. Perhaps the despair which is born 
of hopeless flight communicated itself to an 
otherwise soulless machine — who knows? — 
the fact remains that it hurled itself most 
thoroughly to perdition. No one knows how 
many hundreds died there by the roadside, 
some in the flames of the engine's exploded 
petrol tank, the greater number crushed into 
one huge formless mass of flesh and horse- 
hair, splintered bones and wood. The train 
had started from the capital three whole days 
before. Family groups clustered on the 
roofs of carriages whose framework swelled 
to bursting from the crowded turmoil within. 
Many died prematurely from exposure, and 
the few survivors from the final tragedy told 
nightmare stories of children's corpses 
brushed past the carriage windows when the 
train swept under bridges whose height no 
one had had the thought to measure mentally 
before they braved the roof. Such cruelty of 
negligence is inconceivable — and yet the 
proof that it was real was brought home to 


us who turned the wreckage with averted 
faces, by the obvious indifference of the 
stunned survivors as to whether they were pro- 
nounced to be unhurt, crippled or dying. Mute 
misery of pain — we have learnt yet one more 
lesson. The scene last night was just a con- 
centrated battle-field which lacked the royalty 
of cannon and individual heroism to make of 
an open-air slaughterhouse a splendid place 
to die. 

There was nothing to be done except to 
collect children who had lost their mothers 
and their dolls, and this we did to double the 
extent of all available accommodation. Rus- 
sian soldiers remained behind with carts of 
quicklime to bury in a common grave the 
debris of machine and lives. 

I woke this morning to find a message from 
the station-master informing me that a whole 
goods train of Red Cross stores from Eng- 
land had arrived during the night, and would 
any one responsible come to the station and 
fetch them? There is no one responsible, 
consequently we have all become so ! I do not 
even know whether the things are the ones 
we ordered from England weeks ago, or 
whether they form part of the enormous 


quantities of Government supplies expected 
all through last summer. 

For the last three or four nights I have had 
four vague Englishmen sleeping on sofas and 
tables, and their presence has been, to say the 
least of it, inconvenient; but to-day they have 
made themselves very useful. We all went to 
the station en bande, and stood from 9 a.m. 
till 6 in mud up to our knees trying to get 
the goods off their Russian trucks. Here all 
alike have proved incapable of producing 
carts or motors. I have seen hundreds bump- 
ing about — military lorries amongst them — 
carrying officers ' pianos and baggage station- 
wards, all private property destined to be 
expedited, together with their wives and 
families, to Russia. The fact remains, how- 
ever, that we were flatly refused motors, and 
one can only blame the state of chaos that 
reigns in every organising department. Fi- 
nally, and in despair, I approached a re- 
sponsible official and demanded some form 
of transport for the stores, however, primi- 

The Queen 's private motor-lorry was sug- 
gested and almost materialised, but at the last 
moment was discovered to have gone off into 





the country to fetch fodder for the Palace 
cows. Self-control completely deserted me, 
and I told the important personage who was 
my last hope that I had seen his military 
motors carrying luggage belonging to offi- 
cers ' wives to the station whilst his soldiers 
died. Rhetoric prevailed where personal 
energy had availed less than nothing, and 
my whole party climbed into pony carts 
which appeared from nowhere. We bumped 
off, perched on the top of them, in the direc- 
tion vaguely indicated as a depot for hospital 
stores provided by the Queen. Arrived there, 
we found it occupied by a Jew and his whole 
prolific family, who looked exceedingly com- 
fortable. We went to the Chief of Police 
and to the Palace, we got an A.D.C. and some 
sergeants de ville, and persuaded them to 
evacuate that Jew and all his belongings. 
Having seen the good work well started, we 
returned to the station and walked three-quar- 
ters of a mile down the line of rails to find 
the convoy. Trains were pulling in and out 
in all directions without rhyme or reason, 
often they would find themselves face to face 
and resign themselves to a deadlock of stop- 
page. Whistles screamed in disproportion to 


the aimless traffic, and both sides of the line 
were marked with an indescribable confusion 
of gaily painted personal luggage, refugees 
and stores of ammunition. The only facts we 
really and actively noticed were the rain and 
the filth. We enlisted a squad of Russian sol- 
diers who looked as if they needed occupa- 
tion, and they helped us willingly and with 
deep respect. I have never understood until 
to-day the amount that hands can accom- 
plish. We had to do everything ourselves, 
and actually succeeded in starting a few 
loaded carts off towards the depot at sunset. 
The drivers had previously announced that 
they definitely refused to do more than one 
journey to-night, but we got hold of the police 
again before they went home, and threat- 
ened to search them out and imprison them 
next day if they did not turn up at the station 
by sunrise. 

The irritating part about this whole un- 
speakable confusion is that no one can be 
blamed because no individual is responsible. 
But I must say that we would all feel much 
better to-night if we could vent our simmer- 
ing rage on somebody. Everybody is tired, 
and this house is not a place to rest in ; doors 


open and shnt, and people stumble in with- 
out knocking and take off their boots before 
they start to talk. We have given up trying 
to sweep mud off the floors. 

Later. — Investigation has elicited the fact 
that the Red Cross stores which we so calmly 
appropriated are, in very truth, our own 
property. So now we can sit down with a 
clear conscience, and make of the contents of 
the cases and the stray English doctors and 
nurses who turn up at intervals an efficient 
and well-organised unit for the front. In- 
superable difficulties spring up at every step 
of the road towards accomplishment ; not the 
least of these was the absolute and desperate 
lack of any form of bed-linen. I have bought 
up all the peasant-women's winter scarves of 
wool, which rival any coat immortalised by 
Joseph, and these are destined for blankets. 
Jassy and its environs are deep in snow, and 
the cold at the front must be dreadful. Our 
own quarters are surprisingly warm, and for 
this we are devoutly thankful, because Rou- 
manian stoves, which look more like organs 
than anything else, are designed more to suit 
Balkan schemes of decoration than solid 
British aspirations towards comfort and 


warmth. They have big organ pipes which 
reach to the ceiling, round which the hot air 
curls, and they achieve every known shape 
and colour. They are by no means ugly, but 
one feels that one owns a lot of family tombs, 
and contemplation of their outlines does not 
make for cheer. The few rooms which our 
house boasts are enormous, and all have pale 
parquet floors where one slides about on imi- 
tation Aubusson carpets. 

As far as any news is concerned, we hear 
only the fantastic stories told by arriving 
refugees. And most of them are disinclined 
to talk of anything but their own immediate 
physical discomfort and fright. The only 
thing that we definitely know is that the 
Germans are in Bucarest, and that knowl- 
edge, when one takes a look at the map, is 
enough to be depressing. One thing is satis- 
factory, and that is that there is no longer 
any possibility of further influx into this 
town. All that can happen now is for it to 
empty again slowly. Train-loads leave daily 
for Russia, and we have got to the stage 
where we do not much mind whether they no 
longer arrive so long as they steam away 
from Jassy. 


There is a good deal of friction between 
the Roumanian and the Russian "Tommies," 
and this is unavoidable, for a strange army 
seldom receives a whole-hearted welcome. 
Russians are so big, and the one thing that 
is obviously tactless at present is to take up 
even the smallest amount of space. I never 
realised a million in visible numbers before. 
Were the units which go to make H nere 
bottles of anaesthetic, or blankets, or loaves 
of bread, or something useful, one would 
be able to admire, but one actively resents a 
surplus when it consists of people. 

In a funny way, however, we have settled 
down to being permanently unsettled, and it 
is a daily surprise to find how comfortably 
one can manage to exist without anything at 
all. The banks have opened, because the 
bullion from Bucarest got through; it would 
be interesting to know how that was managed, 
but there is no one to tell us. We take it 
for granted that we are being governed and 
fought for, because there is nothing to prove 
definitely that this is not the case. Still, this 
condition cannot be permanent, and it is 
obvious that some effort will have to be made 
either to organise a settled resting-place, or 


a second flight to a spot so distant that con- 
fusion can turn to order by a process of 
natural evolution. 

Later. — I skipped Xmas Day; it was too 
horrible. Not a flower, not a gift, not a 
change of any description from the clay be- 
fore or the day that followed. We worked 
hard in the morning classifying assets and 
packing cases in a dark cellar ; the unit is tak- 
ing shape, and arrangements have even been 
made for it to start for the front next week. 
Visitors and officers rushed in and out all day, 
and the Englishmen amongst them whispered, 
"Plum pudding/ ' I had some raisins in a 
tin, and the cook made a mixture with maize 
and suet and dried grapes which we all 
shared solemnly at dinner "for auld lang 
syne." Then I went to bed and cried myself 
to sleep. 

I had not thought that we could possibly 
enter into a new phase of horror, but it was 
born on Boxing Day, when the first whispers 
reached us of the destruction of the oil-fields. 
Frankly, we had, each and every one of us, 
completely forgotten the oil! A man, a 
friend of ours, drove up in a motor, streaked 
with grime, weary and dead to the world. 


After lunch he started to tell his story, forti- 
fied by a big cigar. 

He had been one of a party who went out 
alone to the petrol city to destroy. No one 
would give them help, and he told us wonder- 
ful accounts of the scenes which he had wit- 
nessed. The first step had been to capture 
every single man and boy who knew anything 
about the petrol plants and deport them 
bodily to Moldavia, so that the Germans 
should find no skilled workmen to brutalise 
to their own profit. And then a few pairs of 
hands sufficed to crumble and lay in ashes 
what many hundred brains had worked to 
build. First they broke up all the machinery 
— the how of the happening is immaterial; 
the most primitive and brutal weapons served 
them best. Then they poured benzine from 
the roofs of factories down their walls and 
set them alight, they dug trenches round the 
vats and started blazing channels of flame 
towards the reservoirs. These blew up each 
in turn, and soot and fumes made of what 
had been sunlight an eternal night where the 
Fire King went mad. Town by town saw the 
destroyers come to let hell loose, and factory 
after factory writhed in a death agony of 


twisted iron to send jets of poison fumes 
after the four small flying motor-cars. The 
devastation left by a retreating army lay 
before them, turmoil of an enemy drunk with 
success stirred in the wind-gusts that fed the 
flames from the south. Twice did the de- 
stroyers miscalculate the time at their dis- 
posal, and they were badly hurried in one 
place. The enemy arrived sooner than was 
expected, and there was no time to dig the 
trenches — just one little match sufficed to 
start a burning inundation from unskilfully 
burst vats. Some one shouted, ii RunV y just 
before the explosions began. 

The man who told us the story ended each 
sentence with the words: "It was the fact 
that it was daylight — and nevertheless dark, 
which made everything so much worse.' ' 

One can hardly credit the fact that those 
few little men have so effectually accom- 
plished what they set out to do that it will 
be six months before the Germans can squeeze 
a drop of petrol from the saturated earth, 
and yet that is what they affirm so quietly 
that one can but accept the statement — and 
be grateful. We are told to-day that a Ger- 
man wireless message has been intercepted 


from Berlin which sends the conquerors 
orders to send at once to Germany all the 
petrol that they can manage to expedite. And 
this has reconciled us to the despair which 
imagination taught us to catch in the evening 
breeze to-night when we motored back a little 
way with the teller of the story along the road 
that he had travelled. 

It is part of the general contradiction of 
things that this destruction of the oil-fields, 
which is the most important happening of our 
corner of the war, should remain the one 
which has, locally, at least, made the smallest 

Later. — We have suddenly realised to-day 
that we have got back to the frame of mind 
in which we spent our last weeks in Bucarest. 
And this is discouraging. In other words, we 
are back in a sort of cul-de-sac which has, 
nevertheless, one small outlet, wofully in- 
adequate, in the shape of that blessed single 
line to Russia. According to all the various 
contradictory information we get, the Ger- 
mans are not going to sit still and are moving 
forward rapidly. 

The only defence that lies between us and 
them is the famous Sereth line, which the 


Roumanians and Russians alike believe to be 
impregnable. But one cannot tell if it is 
going to hold until it has been tested — and if 
it is tested and gives way — why, they will be 
here. That's all!! 

The slightest thing that looks like a plan 
hangs fire. One cannot even settle a hospital. 
A Roumanian one which went to the front at 
Roman a short while ago has been recalled to 
Jassy, as the line is too thin on that spot and 
there is no point in risking one of the few 
working units we have got. The authorities 
tell us nothing except that "the situation is 
very serious,' ' and that much, we flatter our- 
selves without conceit, we are quite com- 
petent to understand for ourselves. Galatz 
has been evacuated, but that in itself means 
little, except that they expect a bombardment 
there; but if the line is so thin at Roman, 
there is no reason why it should not melt 
away altogether, and then it will be a ques- 
tion of another little run wouldn't do us any 
harm. The thing that seems fantastic is that 
it should be taken as such a matter of course 
that "the line should be thin" anywhere. 
The Russians are here, there and everywhere 
in thousands, and all the German prisoners 


we have seen are old men and babies, worn 
out, wretched, ill-clad, and worse fed. Such 
tired troops could be held, turned round and 
chased by anything. 

One likes to feel that there is a solid and 
settled base between oneself and an advanc- 
ing enemy. At present we in Jassy form the 
base, and it is altogether too close for com- 

Things have looked brighter for the last 
three or four days, because we have been able 
to get some butter from a family that was 
anxious to exchange for sugar. Sugar we 
obtained from some Roumanian women who 
wanted soap. So my last boxes of English 
soap have vanished, but we have all got to 
the stage where we prefer to be dirty than 
start the day without some pretence at a 
breakfast. We have learnt many lessons out 
here, but first and foremost amongst them 
stands the one that one can stand anything 
if one's body is comfortable, even sorrow 
born from humiliation of the soul. 


January 1917. — Letters from England ar- 
rived on New Year's Day, and have done 
much towards restoring us to a normal state 
of British phlegm. I must honestly confess 
that these letters, written just at the moment 
of our worst plight when we were flying from 
Bucarest with all known things unpleasant, 
and all things unknown subject for serious 
dread, seem to show an apparent indifference 
to our possible sufferings which has brought 
acute annoyance to us. I think that one 
amongst fifteen newspapers mentioned Rou- 
mania — just that and no more. It made us 
all rather angry at first to realise that we 
must appear so utterly unimportant, but 
afterwards we lost ourselves to all actuality 
in reading the stories of fighting in France. 
People at home are ' i in a war. ' ' Here we can 
only produce a sanguinary melee. 

The situation grows daily more compli- 
cated and there is every element of trouble. 



There is some friction between the Rou- 
manians and the Russians on every possible 
point, from fighting* policy to military eti- 
quette. The last question, which has bubbled 
over, is the one as to which of the two nation- 
alities are to run the hospitals, the few there 
are. The Russians say that, as they have 
taken over the whole of the front lines and 
allowed the Roumanian army to retire for a 
well-earned spell of rest, there will be no Rou- 
manian wounded, and they want all the hos- 
pitals emptied of their Roumanian staffs and 
turned over, together with all available sup- 
plies, to the Russian Red Cross. The Rou- 
manians, one and all, are naturally wild at 
the idea and definitely decline to comply. So 
either they must be forcibly commandeered 
or stand empty all winter. It is a complete 
deadlock, and one can only hope that feelings 
of humanity will bring them to a compromise. 
Meanwhile we have even been allowed to 
receive reliable news from Bucarest. The 
German administration is apparently allow- 
ing individuals to leave for Jassy without the 
formality of a passport. This is such a sur- 
prising fact that we credit them with all sorts 
of evil and mysterious motives for what is 


probably only an oversight soon to be recti- 
fied. The fact remains that a Roumanian 
officer arrived in Jassy to-day after spending 
three days in Bucarest wearing mufti quite 
unmolested. Apparently he just got on his 
bicycle when he was bored and rode away 
from the town! 

He tells us that the new king is proclaimed 
and that all is quiet and well ordered. A 
small army of pro-Germans — we have known 
them well by name and sight for over a year 
— met the German General Staff at the gates 
of the city, and tendered bouquets. It is hard 
not to be instantly furnished with an obvious 
adjective, but it is only fair to insist upon 
the fact that individuals who hold system- 
atically to one idea and to one party cannot 
be termed traitors for the simple reason that 
that party may not be one 's own. The bearer 
of these tidings travelled on his bicycle all 
the way to Jassy. His descriptions of scenes 
on the road are terrible. So many people 
who left Bucarest on foot during the exodus 
have not yet begun to arrive here, and, ac- 
cording to what he told us, few of them ever 
will. He rode through the devastation of the 
petrol cities, and spoilt the quietening infor- 


mation that few casualties had resulted there 
from the wholesale destruction by adding: 
"But all the poor, poor people have in their 
eyes the look that lingers from a murdered 
soul." He drew for us one word-picture of 
a little country cart, where a starving donkey 
tried to cry his need for succour and pleaded 
mutely to be released from the burden of two 
dead women and three children which he 
continued to drag quite slowly because he had 
been "gee'd up" some while before, and had 
not been given leave to rest before they died. 
After that we begged to hear no further 
stories of the road. 

It is possible that the end of this country, 
as far as the Allies are concerned, is very 
near, and we are no longer terrified, only 
horribly depressed. 

As to the things that have happened with 
our own English Red Cross unit, they parry 
description and one can only sit and laugh. 
Insuperable difficulty after insuperable diffi- 
culty rose with the relentless climb of sand- 
hills towards snow mountains. A compatriot 
wants to go home. I cannot say that I blame 
him, but I am extraordinarily sorry for him 
if he tries, because he will not have a nice 


time getting there. I only ask one thing of 
life now — and that not to be obliged to leave 
Jassy and travel along the only route that 
remains until the war is over or things have 
settled down. 

Later. — A Grand Duchess has been to 
Jassy, and has done much, by her charming 
personality and her sympathy, to bring har- 
mony into Russo-Roumanian relations. The 
storm-clouds were so very easily dispelled 
that one begins to think that one had exag- 
gerated the racial differences. In fact, she 
was received with almost more enthusiasm 
by the Roumanian populace than by her own 

Less important people like ourselves were 
given practical proof of her presence by the 
complete stoppage of all our little luxuries, 
such as firewood and dairy produce. Last 
night for dinner we had soup tablets, boiled 
potatoes and black bread, and there was noth- 
ing in the house to-clay but white beans. At 
this instant, however, we have had untold luck, 
because a friend asked us for a little tea. 
We sent it, and she returned a grateful effu- 
sion and a pot of jam. I gave an old lady 
who lives opposite some cakes of Pears' soap, 


some aspirine and some pyramidon, which 
things came in the last letter post from home, 
and she returned butter and a plate of ham. 
Ten minutes ago our British soldier visitors 
drove in from a reconnaissance, and unloaded 
a huge dried fish from the Danube and a 
whole uncooked ham brought from the Rus- 
sian frontier. They themselves had eaten 
nothing for thirty hours, and we are all going 
to sit down at six o'clock and give ourselves 
up to greed. 

They also had stories to tell which have 
thrown those of the Roumanian officer into 
gloomy shade. In the train which brought 
them to the frontier a soldier had died of 
cholera and lain two days side by side with 
living fellow-travellers. It was nobody's busi- 
ness to remove the corpse, and so it was left 
to lie and jolt with the train. Carts are so 
firmly stuck into the motoring roads that the 
way is blocked, and the only means of passing 
is to overturn the mass and burn the wreck- 
age. Two feet of snow cover the whole 
brown earth and make a shroud for victims 
of exposure. Both men arrived drowned in 
water, unrecognisable from mud. 

People have begun to speak quite openly of 


the evacuation of Jassy. But this time the 
flight would be organised by Russians, as it 
would be into Russia that we would have to 
go. Rostofr*, on the Sea of Azoff, is men- 
tioned as our final haven — and really we 
might do worse. It is quite a nice place. I 
remember it vaguely as a big place with long 
untidy buildings and a broad waterway some- 
where near. The surroundings have only left 
me with the impression that it was one of the 
few "not quite flat" places that I saw in 
Russia. At least we should be certain of get- 
ting food there — good food; what's more, 
caviare galore! and we should be within 
sighting distance of the Further East, which 
I love. I have been advised to prepare my 
heavy boxes into light ones, if I have any. 
I am saying that I haven't — I really cannot 
subdivide again ! A sort of "specialist evacu- 
ator" has been sent here in the shape of a 
general who has done it before — in Russia. 
So we shall be done slowly this time and 
systematically, and perhaps the results will 
be better. Besides, even the individual learns 
by force of habit, and I am collecting a big 
suitcase full of food, for Azoff sounds very 
far away to me. 


Our latest disturbance is that the owner of 
our house has become restive and is trying to 
turn us out of it. He says that his wife is 
dying from grief at our having it, but I refuse 
to accept the nasty imputation that we are 
doing it any permanent injury. Besides, it 
would take a very long time to dislodge all 
the various sorts and classes of people who 
have made of it a permanent private hotel. 
They are all solid and British, and it will take 
physical force to move us — a great deal of it. 
We really are full up now. One man spent 
the night on the kitchen stove, which is made 
of mud and flat bricks. He was late in getting 
to bed, because he was worried lest the fire 
should not be quite out. Sheets gave out 
three days ago, and we all lie in strange relics 
of night attire covered to the necks with 
coloured cotton cloths in which peasants were 
wont to carry home market produce. They 
are quite warming, really, considering the 
gossamer of which they are made. We laugh 
all the time, despite the tragedy on every 
side. But it is sympathetic laughter, first 
cousin to real tears. 

Later. — We have been living a wilder rush 
than usual, because all the officers who come 


and spend a night or two here at alternate 
intervals, having gone off definitely in dif- 
ferent directions for a "long time," chose 
last night in which to turn up, all together, 
from various points of the compass. I had 
had no idea of what a lot of people had really 
slept in this house at intervals until I saw 
them like that all together, and remembered 
that there was literally less than nothing in 
the kitchen. They all wanted baths; it was 
obvious that each one needed it worse than 
the last, and our most triumphant effort up to 
the present has been three baths in twenty- 
four hours. They wanted soap — and medi- 
cine — and towels — and, somehow, they all got 
them and were so nice and grateful. Each 
one produced a different sort of odd contribu- 
tion to the communal commissariat, and then, 
after dinner, one of them played music-hall 
songs, and we all felt quite extraordinarily 

This morning another post arrived from 
England and brought countless small pack- 
ages of tinned food. It came just in time. 
We had had no butter for a week and there 
was hardly any sugar left. Not that any 
came, but we unpacked some jam and remem- 


bered the pleasant taste of sweetened things. 
To-night we are going to broach a bottle of 
champagne — one of the original three re- 
mains. A woman — just an ordinary woman 
— is a very useful thing to have about! I 
have learnt how to mend socks and to make 
wooden buttons, and to pull out the fluff of 
the selvage from stuffs and call it cotton. All 
kinds of people who don't " belong' ' to us at 
all leave their clothes and their bags in the 
front hall, and every bracket is used for dry- 
ing linen. It's the funniest-looking house I 
ever pictured, even when I was a child and 
built them under the nursery table. Every- 
body leaves messages for everybody else with 
whoever happens to be there. I have learnt 
to keep a little book with: "Tell So-and-so to 
communicate with General Staff regarding 
the horse-power of such and such a car." 
"Tell his room is No. 15 at the Conti- 
nental Hotel when he arrives to-morrow." 
"Here's a key for So-and-so — he'll know 
what it is — and see that he gets this sword 
and returns mine to you." "When a Rus- 
sian officer comes to see me, say this and 
that and the following." 

To-day at 9 a.m. we delivered bandages to 


the British unit, which still survives despite 
vicissitudes ; at 9.30 a new stock of supplies 
had got to be packed and prepared for the 
returning Roman unit; at eleven an agent 
turned up from Russia to take large orders 
for linen for the hospitals; at 12.30 we 
lunched; at two a party of French doctors 
came to find out whether we could give them 
any spare surgical instruments ; at 2.30 there 
was a general meeting of the Russian Red 
Cross. At three we all went to the station to 
make sure that the arrangements were all in 
order for the arrival of the Roumanian hos- 
pital unit from Roman; at four we super- 
intended the delivery of a gift of British 
stores to the working Roumanian hospital 
which has been lately born at the doors of our 
own depot; at five we had a farewell tea- 
party to some half-dozen British officers go- 
ing to Bacau; at six I interviewed three 
stranded English governesses who needed 
clothes and money and information about the 
Russian journey. At 7.30 we dined. And 
this was only an average day. I have not 
even mentioned the round dozen or so of stray 
people who wandered in between whiles ask- 
ing for things and making suggestions, bang- 


ing doors, and talking every language under 
the sun ! ! One thing never happens here, and 
that is to be bored. 

Later.— Not the wildest flights of imagina- 
tion can picture the things that can happen 
in a country when force of circumstances de- 
moralises the bulk of the population and 
there has not yet been time for the figure- 
heads to find their feet. It is so hard to 
tabulate them without seeming to throw 
blame on just those people who have really 
earned our undying respect because they are 
most loyally trying to do their best. After 
all, if London had to entrain for Norwich at 
twenty-four hours' notice, I cannot conceive 
that the transfer would be a tidy one ! ! ! 

Nevertheless, the stories told by our own 
officers and by Russian officials who inces- 
santly pass through this house are quite fan- 
tastic. The " skilled evacuator," otherwise 
a newly arrived Russian general, waited 
eight hours for his train at the frontier, 
which used to be at a bare two hours' train 
journey from Jassy. It subsequently took 
five, when started, to cover the distance. At 
the station, but outside it, where the train 
finally came to a complete standstill, they 


waited another ninety minutes, and then 
walked, together with the crowd of six hun- 
dred less important travellers, along a free 
line to the empty Jassy platform. It was 
not even worth while inquiring as to the 
wherefore of the stoppage, because no answer 
could have been given. The station-master, 
as a matter of fact, volunteered that he had 
not known that there were any passengers in 
that train ! Apparently forty cars of explos- 
ives are resting in Jassy station — enough to 
destroy half the town if they blew up 
sideways. I don't know enough about ex- 
plosives to understand whether this is pos- 
sible, and the uncertainty is rather worrying 
when one sees hundreds of unemployed 
lounging there, incessantly smoking cigar- 
ettes. Another Russian officer told me that 
he had passed, between Jassy and Bacau, a 
train-load of warm clothes heading towards 
the front. The soldiers in charge were sit- 
ting in a dejected row along the embankment 
chewing roots of beetroots which they had 
found piled there in a field. From the look 
of the ground my informant gathered that 
the party had been there a considerable time, 
and took the trouble to stop his own train and 


inquire why there was no engine at either 
end of the other, or, for that matter, in sight. 
"We have slept here for ten days," replied 
one of the soldiers vaguely — the rest did not 
even trouble to listen — "and we have had no 
food since one hundred hours.' ' He added 
that, presumably, they had been forgotten, 
and that one or two of the party had died. 

One of our own officers arrived from Galatz 
on a train which brought wounded to be 
cared for. They had no food for forty-eight 
hours, and many died. At Berlade he had 
ventured away to forage for supplies and 
actually unearthed some tinned nourishment, 
with which he returned in triumph to the 
train only to find that it had steamed off, five 
minutes before, backwards along the road to 
Galatz which he had just travelled. 

My doctor arrived from Roman, distant an 
hour's normal train journey. It took him 
twelve, hanging on to an engine together with 
fifty other men. Some dropped off quite 
quietly into the snow-drifts when they grew 
tired. On every skyline, he added, and in 
every valley, they saw horses with broken 
legs, left to die, turning and turning in end- 
less circles of pain, and he heard them 


screaming despite the uproar of machinery 
which drowned most hearing. 

In our English hospital there is a man who 
has had his foot amputated. He lay pinned 
under a burning car. A hatchet was brought 
by a doctor to a French officer standing near, 
and the doctor said: "Do it if you can; I 
have no instruments and feel paralysed.' ' 
The Frenchman did the thing in the whole 
horror of the sunlight, whilst the Russian pri- 
vates who were his charge took advantage of 
the opportunity and pillaged private passen- 
ger luggage on the train. It did not strike 
them as unworthy; one must remember that 
there are whole people in the world who have 
never been taught that there is, in theft, dis- 

All this time no attempt whatsoever has 
been made to clear away from off the main 
railway line to Bucarest the wreckage of the 
terrible train accident which happened there 
in days which have faded into the darkest 
ages. But yesterday the idea occurred to a 
party of our British officers to clear it in 
passing, and so they went to the authorities 
and said: "Give us men and engine chains, 
and we will do the rest." These were easily 


procured — -human material here is cheap, 
only forethought stands at a premium — and 
the squad set off in the middle of the night. 
At two o'clock to-day we remembered that 
they had no food, and so I started off after 
them in my motor laden with tea and a few 
pork-chops and bread. How we reached them, 
I don't know. The going would have been 
better had the road frankly abandoned any 
effort to live up to its pretensions. But when 
we finally arrived, not only did we see a 
cleared track stretching away into the dis- 
tance, but a whole set of new lines was al- 
ready half laid over the ruined gap. Hap- 
penings like this prove how temptingly easy 
would be the restoration of order into the 
chaos in which we live, which at present 
seems to grow from day to day, just because 
human nature meets failure with easy resig- 
nation and requires a pointing finger to indi- 
cate endurance, which in warfare stands for 
the sublime. 

Later. — I think that it can be definitely 
assumed now that all danger of our being 
obliged to leave Jassy in the immediate 
future is over. Russians and Roumanians 
alike are standing on the Sereth, and the Ger- 


mans do not seem to be particularly anxious 
to cross. A little success does much to re- 
store balance, and we have already voiced the 
somewhat ambitious dream of seeing the 
enemy driven back in the spring. I ask for 
only one reward for all that we are going 
through, and that to drive down behind them 
in my motor! It would be worth anything 
to go back like that — into our own house. 

Quietly, slowly, nevertheless perceptibly, a 
good deal is being done here to restore order. 
A better feeling has been established be- 
tween the Roumanians and the Russians, and 
all have, at last, realised that they have a 
common enemy and that the personal equation 
must go to the wall. There is splendid stuff in 
both races, but both require more time than 
is conceivable to accomplish anything at all. 
Now, for the first time since war's out- 
break, we have time to breathe in our little 
corner of the world. 

But disease is coming, and that was a hor- 
ror which we had forgotten. There is a ter- 
rible shortage of wood, and, in the absence of 
all other material, fire is the only reliable dis- 
infectant. Lice overrun the hospitals and we 
are unable to combat them, for we have no 


serums and no disinfectants. Petrol, which 
might serve our purpose at a pinch, is also 
lacking now. The doctors are reduced to 
vinegar. I personally still have a small sup- 
ply of regulation stuff left over from amongst 
the things that came out from home, and I 
have hidden it in case of emergency. The 
state of affairs could not declare itself as dan- 
gerous until the spring, and in two months 
much could be done to combat it. The work 
has been begun, in the only possible way, by 
ordering supplies from home in stupendous 
quantities. But we are met by the same old 
uncertainty as to whether they can ever 

The need will most certainly be very ur- 
gent, according to the stories we hear already. 
A Roumanian nurse came to me straight 
from the firing line at Tekutch and said: 
"Can you tell me where to go for help? The 
living where I come from refuse to bury the 
dead for fear of contagion, and the dogs are 
eating the bodies. I've seen a room where 
forty men die of typhus and scarlet fever 
together, and no one will go near them. The 
day I left, I managed to get a Roumanian 


officer to bring some straw and I spread it 
near them with my own hands." 

She did not exaggerate. My friend the 
surgeon tells we that we are in for a terrible 
time if something is not done at once. And 
the head of the bacteriological hospital has 
submitted the following: "If one quarter of 
the new army is not at once sent out of the 
country into cleanliness, that army will be 
gone before the autumn." 

Our own hospital already has over three 
hundred infectious cases, all different dis- 
eases. Yet we cannot refuse to take in dying 
men. Our nurses are being simply splendid. 
I refer to the original party that came out 
with the first hospital unit from home. All 
this time they have not had so much as a 
chair to sit in, or a sofa, only a bed apiece 
and a Red Cross case for a table. And they 
never told. One of them has recently come 
back from Roman, where she worked with the 
Roumanian hospital. She brought a photo of 
the morgue, where seventy dead bodies had 
lain for a fortnight, unattended. She counted 
over fifty disabled engines stranded on the 
line between Roman and Jassy; it is impos- 
sible to mend them, because they were orig- 


inally German. The wounded, who are sent 
down in parties of twenty and thirty to be at- 
tended to here, are forced to wait for days 
at every siding, to leave the road clear for 
train-loads of petrol-plant machinery needed 
urgently at Bacau. They arrive dazed and 
nearly dying, and go to sleep in our hospital 
and don't wake up for two days sometimes. 
One man to whom I gave a whole loaf of 
bread hugged it to his chest as a precious 
thing. That fact he could still recognise, but 
he seemed to have forgotten how to eat. A 
great many of our cases are typhoid, and we 
have little or no milk to give, so they just 

The suffering which is endured so uncom- 
plainingly seems so utterly out of proportion 
to what these splendid fellows have deserved. 
I said to one the other day, a man who had 
lost two legs and an arm and only kept his 
reason by a miracle : "What Roumania needs 
is just one victory to give you courage"; and 
he answered me very low: "What my coun- 
try needs, madame, is quicklime in quantities, 
so as to bury her dead decently and clean.' ' 


February 1917. — The house has been really 
quiet for ten days — all our visitors are away, 
most of them at the front. And for this we 
have cause to be devoutly thankful, as the 
food shortage has become acute and we are 
told that, unless the railways tumble into 
working order within the very near future, 
starvation is certain. Nowadays we only get 
meat, in very small quantities, twice a week, 
officially distributed by the Government. 
Apart from that, we eat bread and the few 
little luxuries which come to us as a sign of 
Heaven's special favour every now and then. 
The small quantities of milk, butter and eggs 
available are naturally reserved for the hos- 
pitals. The situation is undoubtedly very 
serious. We are still plunged in mid-winter, 
with feet of snow on the ground, and all are 
suffering from a very virulent form of in- 
fluenza ushered in with incredible tempera- 



German propaganda is making itself felt in 
the town, and their spies abound. Some 
Roumanian military prisoners were recently 
liberated, and returned to their base fur- 
nished with illuminated leaflets advertising 
German supremacy and Roumania's ruin. 
These were, however, loyally handed over to 
their officers. 

The deaths from starvation amongst the 
peasant population of the country are ter- 
rible. Men crawl in to the outskirts of Jassy, 
having staggered for twenty or thirty miles 
in the hope of dragging themselves home 
again with a little food for their babies. 

Travelling conditions are indescribable. 
One of our newspaper correspondents had to 
get to the front. He started off in a motor 
with one friend, with a second motor follow- 
ing — nowadays one never tries to reach any- 
thing in one. The cars had orders not to 
lose sight of each other, but a blizzard came 
between them. The front one was snowed 
up at midnight, and the two men gave them- 
selves up for lost, as they had eaten all their 
food and drunk the brandy. But, fortunately, 
a regiment of Cossacks passed and lent them 
horses. They foraged about in the snow for 


two hours and then had the luck to find the 
other motor. They restarted and reached a 
village outside their destination, where their 
engine froze. Undaunted, they commandeered 
six oxen and hitched them to a sled, 
in which conveyance they finally rolled tri- 
umphantly into Bacau, after having spent six- 
teen hours in covering the remaining eight 
miles. These are the conditions under which 
we have to keep the few hospitals running 
near the front lines supplied with everything 
which we have not, as a preliminary diffi- 
culty, got!!!! 

Now we have been told that, as soon as the 
weather grows warm again, we shall have 
air raids. One came to Berlade last week, 
and the French brought down two machines, 
one with anti-aircraft guns and the other with 
one of their own aeroplanes. Here we have 
no defences at all, and these houses of packed 
humanity will crumble into a bloody pool at 
the base of the hills. They have neither cellar 
nor second storey, so one will have no choice 
of action, except to stand still in whatever 
place one may happen to be and trust to 

These are the little reflections which are 

A. Village Chapel 


born during moments of rest and quiet con- 
templation of the situation. But they come 
seldom. Apart from them so much is visibly 
being done to restore a semblance of order 
that we have become quite cheerful. There 
is a whisper of spring in the air, though it is 
still very cold, and we have begun to work in 
the garden. Hitherto we had not had time 
to appreciate its possibilities. After all, we 
have" been in Jassy barely two months, and, 
although it is easy to paint a picture of in- 
describable confusion, it is, in another way, 
marvellous to realise how comparatively com- 
fortable we have managed to settle down. 
By this time most of our friends are installed 
with some pretence at permanency, and a 
half-hearted attempt at sociability is begin- 
ning to make itself felt. They are amusing 
to the point of pathos, these little lunches 
and dinners where we scrape the inadequate 
coverings of the plates set before us, and con- 
verse volubly and in an interminable circle 
about our own unimportant little affairs. 
There is danger of becoming entirely self-cen- 
tred and of boiling everything down to the 
personal equation, because we get no books 


and hardly any papers, and the few mails 
that reach ns from Russia are ages old. 

Clothes have become a serious considera- 
tion. I have often, in the past, spoken of my 
belongings as "worn out," but I never knew 
before how odd things could look when they 
are in actual fact worn through. Things like 
powder and nail-cleaners are myths only. 
For the former I use ground rice and for the 
latter hairpins, and I see myself, in the near 
future, reduced to wearing soldiers' military 
boots. It has been brought home to us 
women how utterly absurd is fashion. The 
pretty ones look the lovelier for the fact that 
they can manage to look nice at all, but all 
these attributes fade to nothing before the 
quality of usefulness. 

Later. — The military lull has brought op- 
portunities for airing political squabbles dor- 
mant in all small countries. Something is in 
the air, and it has affected, curiously enough, 
chiefly the Russian soldiers. They appear 
restive, and talk in groups with an excite- 
ment disproportionate to the quiet of this 
interval. We hear the most fantastic ru- 
mours, but have learnt, from bitter experi- 
ence, to discredit anything that savours of 


on dit. Nothing can be very seriously wrong, 
because order has come to the railways and 
the danger of starvation has been reduced to 
minimum. Most of our supplies come from 
Odessa nowadays, and our staple diet is based 
on the big pale pink Russian hams which we 
used to consider so delicious in far-off 
Bucarest days. Now we view the insipid con- 
tours with acute loathing and merely eat to 

Now that the trains are running slowly 
but regularly, we have received some Red 
Cross stores and consignments of disinfec- 
tant. The first step was to purge the hospi- 
tals, and this has been most thoroughly ac- 
complished. Some of the buildings had to be 
burnt ; it was the only way to exterminate the 
lice. Most of the minor diseases have been 
appreciably checked, and cholera and typhus 
are our worst enemies. There is still time to 
accomplish a good deal before the summer, 
but the danger will not be over, for I believe 
that typhus lies dormant in hot weather and 
wakes to life when winter comes. 

Our papers make rather depressing read- 
ing. We realise that we cannot hope to hold 
the world-stage— but still, the limelight of the 


times avoids our little corner most conspicu- 
ously, and it is rather irritating. One does 
not mind labelling one's own self as the least 
of little things, but one hates having the fact 
rubbed in by being completely ignored. 

March 1917. — The Russian coup d'etat has 
come and the Government here is having 
some anxious moments. It is unlikely, how- 
ever, that anything serious will transpire. 
The Royal Family is very popular and is 
faithfully served by the administration. All 
Russians, of course, are in a ferment, but it 
is reassuring to notice that they have not lost 
sight of the common ideals of the war. 

Telegraphic news from America is palpi- 
tating, and brings the end of the war within 
sight, at any rate, of our own generation. 
Unfortunately everything worth doing takes 
an immense amount of time in this world, 
and one cannot hope for things to begin to 
happen for a long time. It is rather dis- 
couraging that the crisis in Russia should 
have come to a head at this moment, speak- 
ing, naturally, from our own point of view, 
which is the only one that appears, through 
force of circumstances, important. The Rou- 
manians and Russians were just learning to 


stand up to their three-legged race, and now 
all the knots have had to be loosened to give 
the latter a chance to stretch cramped knees. 
We had begun to talk of a big spring offen- 
sive, and now the only thing that is obvious 
is that waiting will be our indefinite lot. 

Our biggest social function lately has been 
a triple funeral of society victims to typhus. 
The toll amongst the French doctors is 
heavy, and there are deaths every day. I 
went yesterday to inspect a new barrack at 
the station which has been recently built to 
replace our hospital, which was one of the 
many to be burnt so as to attain purifica- 
tion. I had never seen lice close by before, 
and was surprised to find them so small. The 
horror of the word had made me think they 
were big things. All that I saw were dead, and 
the fact that they obtrude themselves upon my 
notice is sufficient proof of the quantity I 
saw. The new patients were lying, one hun- 
dred and fifty in number, on the ground near 
the building. They were waiting for a bath 
and a shave, and will lie there, some of them, 
for a day or two until they can be attended 
to. The head of the hospital is preparing a 
bathing train for them, but it will not be 


ready for another ten days. The actual 
number of typhus cases is abating, but the 
disease — what there is of it — has taken a 
highly virulent form, and few of the tainted 
recover. People one knows go down with it 
every day, and whether one will succumb 
oneself is purely a matter of chance. 

As I write, a little black lamb which was 
sold to us two days ago, and which has been 
put into the garden to fatten, has begun to 
"ma-a-a-a-a" most miserably. It's fantastic 
how anything young that won't stay alone 
because it's bored can make life unpleasant 
to much bigger things around it! I never 
knew that lambs had intelligence, character 
and personality. This one just wants com- 
pany, and its "ma-a-a-s" are in every tone 
till they reach an angry squeal, more like the 
voice of a child than anything animal I ever 
heard. I have had to have it taken away. It 
planted its forefeet against the wall of the 
house when it discovered my window above 
its head, and bleated up. I ask any one: Is 
that the universal idea of a lamb? The serv- 
ants had put a pink ribbon round its neck, 
and are now completely staggered because I 
have just informed them that I, at any rate, 


decline to eat it. We were adopted, about 
two months ago, by a wretched, sneaky-look- 
ing little cur, now a magnificent long-haired 
sheep-dog. He is a capital watchman, who 
lords himself all over the place and has a 
nasty, overbearing nature. A second small 
starved dog adopted us yesterday and was 
fed. Now it has betaken itself to the farthest 
corner of the property and is cringing in fear 
by the watch-dog, too hungry to leave and 
yet too frightened to move. It lies in the sun 
with one eye open, having had several seri- 
ous bites, but remembers "good dinner' ' and 
won't go. I fear, however, that it will give 
up and crawl away and die. 

Later. — The war situation has come to a 
complete standstill : it is hard to believe that 
anything more can ever happen here. 

Seven hundred thousand Russians are said 
to be on our front, who could, undoubtedly, 
just sweep across the country, driving all 
before them, and lead us back into Bucarest. 
But their very numbers make them a difficult 
army to equip and feed. At present they 
lack munitions, fodder, guns and railways, so 
it all looks pretty hopeless, and one can but 
be thankful for them as a definite solid buffer 


which will require a lot of moving. There 
are very few enemy divisions in front of 
them, and we are told that these consist 
principally of Turks and Bulgarians. It 
makes one rather ill to think how easy com- 
plete victory could be and how unlikely it is. 
Social events in the shape of funerals fol- 
low one another with depressing rapidity. 
To-morrow six victims are to be buried at 
once. They comprise the best Roumanian 
typhus expert, the nurse who looked after the 
last French doctor to die, a sister of charity, 
a colonel and two young officers. Amidst 
these sunny, warm surroundings it is hard 
to realise death. I went to the station bar- 
rack again to-day. More than a fortnight 
had passed since my last visit, but the sick 
and wounded still lay in the open awaiting 
their turn. All the hospitals are overcrowded 
with sickness ; there are few wounds, because 
there has been stagnation on all fronts. We 
have divorced one of the big English doctors 
from his regulation work for a month, and 
asked him to take responsible steps to combat 
disease. He has started by composing a train 
of oil-tanks for disinfecting clothes, and is 
completing the half-finished train for giving 










the soldiers baths and a shave. He tells me 
that, at present, nearly all the infected die 
simply for want of the necessary foodstuffs 
and serums. It will be the purest luck if 
none of us get it, because we have, naturally, 
no more efficacious safeguards than any one 
else. The little we did have was distributed 
centuries ago. Bordering as we do upon the 
East, we are subject to Eastern meteorology 
and have had no spring. The big thaw came 
quite suddenly, and hot dust winds from the 
south did much to dry the resulting quag- 
mire. Whether the dust is preferable to mud 
remains to be seen : mud breeds disease and 
dust is a reliable carrier. With both follow- 
ing so close on one another's heels, we should 
do well ! 

What is so desperately depressing is this 
gradual fading away of an army which has 
had little or no fighting to make death worth 

All through this time of waiting our 
thoughts turn sentimentally towards England 
with such abandon that we are deserving of 
ridicule. Newspapers reach us now, and they 
are not too old. I suppose that it is only we 
exiles who can properly appreciate the con- 


tradiction of the entertainment column side 
by side with the one that records the toll of 
the trenches. I saw a fashion sheet the other 
day, and realised that there was still charm 
in clothes. And all the women in the picture 
papers look like angels paying a visit to the 
earth. One does hope that England will 
make an effort not to change too much before 
we see her again. This sounds selfish, but it 
is the truest expression of patriotism of 
which this particular little band of exiles is 
capable. We read in the papers that many 
women go on out to dine in day clothes after 
their work. To us this appears incredible — 
that there should be human beings in the 
world who have the chance to put on different 
clothes and who do not realise the wonderful 
blessing of being able to feel clean. We have 
forgotten what it was like. We have even 
forgotten what it felt like to eat food that 
tasted clean and had a flavour of anything at 
all. One welcomes the curious "tinny" taste 
of preserved stuffs simply because one knows 
that they were packed in pleasant surround- 
ings and grew in healthy earth. All the 
things one frankly hated before taste good, 
like tomato soup tablets or tinned sardines. 


Besides this we have macaroni and occasional 
snipe. These are very fishy in odour and 
taste, but quite remarkably delicious. 

In the Roumanian typhus hospital, which 
we were invited to inspect a few days ago, 
they are allowed four bottles of milk per day 
for a hundred cases which can be nourished 
on nothing else. In the first ward men and 
women sleep together, separated by screens. 
Two officers had been very bad, but the 
hospital was proud of them and showed 
them off because they were recovering. Op- 
posite them lay two infirmieres; one was dead 
and the other dying. There they would lie 
until their turn came round for a funeral. 
Up to the present not an English person has 
gone down with a disease. We take a lot of 
care of ourselves — wash our teeth several 
times a day with brandy and rub our nostrils 
with the stuff — and we have the luck to be 
able to superintend our own cooking and 
washing. Now that the weather is fine, this 
kind of thing happens in the garden for the 
sake of safety, and it is funny to see damp 
strings of macaroni and the family under- 
clothes suspended from the same rope, 
stretched across the branches of pine trees 


at whose roots bloom lilies-of-the-valley. 

Curious how one grows accustomed to 
things. Conditions here are fundamentally 
unchanged since the first fortnight of our 
arrival, and one and all have come to consider 
them as perfectly natural. 

Next month we are going to be lucky 
enough to be allowed to visit the Russian 
front. Nominally we shall be called "an in- 
spection of the hospitals," but I fancy that 
the Russian and Roumanian authorities alike 
are rather proud of what they have done, and 
are anxious for outsiders to see and judge for 
themselves. The trip will take two or three 
days; we shall go by motor, of course, and 
shall arrive, like Father Christmas, grown 
scornful of the calendar, laden with every 
form of luxury. I think that cigarettes, mag- 
azines, cheap Russian sweets and cotton-wool 
can, without exaggeration, be termed luxury 
nowadays. We are told that the road which 
we shall travel is like a fairy pathway of 
spring scents and flowers. It is splendid to 
have something to look forward to at last, 
because certainly all that we find in memory 
to feed upon steeps us in gloom. Nor is the 
present particularly exhilarating! 


April 1917. — We have returned from our 
expedition, and into no three days of any one 
of our separate existences have we crammed 
such interest. 

We started by averaging forty kilometres 
an hour for seven hours over things deserv- 
ing of any name but roads. The two cars 
were seventy-five horse-power, and at times 
we ran ten or twenty miles at eighty. I per- 
sonally was obliged to double up and cling to 
the seat in front of me, having had the mis- 
fortune to grow only small and light. Quite 
frankly, I was terrified of bumping out. It 
was a jaw-shattering experience into which 
nerves could not even enter, for they died 
before they were born. The road of tree- 
branches looked like corduroy at times, at 
others like the board for a game played at 
Early Victorian charity bazaars where one 
pulled a trigger and a little wooden ball 
made for a field of smooth cup-like holes. 



These were the mud ponds that marked the 
passage of munition wagons in the winter, 
and which had not had time to dry. The 
filth which splashed when we took them at 
full speed obliterated the sunlight and mixed 
a. curious colour with the blueness of the sky. 
The road grew better as we neared Roman. 
Roumanians and Russians have rebuilt it 
entirely, and done their work extraordinarily 
well. All the bridges were new, and damp 
mortar oozed from the brick spaces. The 
country there is almost the loveliest in Rou- 
mania, like Sinaia, but unspoilt by Swiss 
cottage decoration. After we had been skat- 
ing round the horrible curves for an hour or 
so, I began to be able to see things, and felt 
as if I were in a high-class cinema at home. 
We met all the things pictured in illustrated 
papers like the Graphic or the London News. 
We must have passed 10,000 tethered horses 
camped under trees, with their supply 
wagons all interlaced with branches so as to 
hide them from enemy observers. And all 
the photographs which one remembered of 
wisps of smoke, resting men, and rifles lean- 
ing three-legged against one another sud- 
denly took shape, threw shadows, and had 


meaning. As we neared the front the piles 
of munitions grew to mountains and we 
passed miles and miles of wire entanglements, 
up and down hills with loopholed crests. We 
saw trenches where we expected to find cow- 
sheds, and cowsheds in the places where 
trenches obviously ought to have been. Great 
stationary kitchens, where stained canvas 
tents sent forth surprisingly appetising 
whiffs spread themselves straight across the 
road at regular intervals, and streams of 
carts laden with bread headed away from 
them in all directions of the compass. We 
got mixed up at times with the stragglers 
of regiments on the march, and we 
watched the field kitchens actually dis- 
tributing soup and picking up bread as 
they moved forwards so as not to waste time 
whilst soldiers fed. Most of the things that 
happened took place in peaceful meadows 
near streams which cuddled into wild flow- 
ered nooks to cool the almost summer heat. 
We pushed forward to within two miles of 
the front-line trenches, and watched shells 
bursting in the air over a ridge of hills that 
split two wooded valleys. And then, towards 
sunset, we met double pony stretchers bring- 


ing back the wounded from the first field- 
dressing station, and at this point distin- 
guished the rattle of the muskets when we 
left the car to climb a little way up the hillside 
on foot. 

A Russian aide-de-camp met us to point 
out our quarters, which turned out to be pre- 
pared for us in one of the little white rest- 
houses, lately built, which had fronted the 
last mile of roadway. Russian Easter-time 
was just over, and each was festooned inside 
under the rafters with branches of pine wood, 
and clusters of fresh golden cones that hung 
like chandeliers. Those which sheltered the 
General and Medical Staffs were marked with 
flags and red crosses respectively; the others, 
where soldiers were billeted, had the num- 
bers of the units picked out in black relief 
over the wooden doors. The beds in these 
rest-houses were as clean and white as those 
in a country house in England, and we found 
the luxury of a clean towel hanging from a 
nail at the foot of each. Original tree-stumps 
had been left to pierce the floor as tables, and 
roughly baked ovens made of mud formed 
queer-shaped stoves. Everything inside wax 


permeated with the clean fresh smell of newly 
felled pines. 

I never saw anything so simple, clean and 
business-like in all my life. A capital little 
hospital bnilt of white planks stands at a 
turning of the main street of this emergency 
village. It is hemmed in by a graveyard, 
where white crosses mark the last sleeping- 
place of those Russian soldiers who can never 
return except in spirit to their homes. Rus- 
sian Red Cross nurses work here, ladies all. 
The one who cooked our meals, a girl of 
eighteen, was the daughter of the Chief of 
the Staff of one of the big generals, taking 
her month's duty in the kitchen, as must all 
in turn. The others were mostly wives of 
generals. The hospital sends out light am- 
bulances and horse stretchers to the front- 
line trenches in the hills at regular intervals 
and to appointed places. A nurse and a doc- 
tor invariably accompany them on foot. The 
work is very light just now, as there has been 
no heavy fighting, only occasional firing. The 
hospital was practically empty, but the five 
men who lay there were all dying, three of 
tetanus and two of meningitis. A train serv- 
ice has been instituted between these base 


hospitals and the big convalescent camps at 
Odessa, and seems to be running marvellously 

We received a cheerful welcome from all : 
from the sun-burned nurses dressed in white 
to the wild-looking soldiers in smoke-coloured 
cloth who sported love-locks and great 
shaggy beards. Little tossing trout streams 
freshened the air, and the black smoke-clouds 
of bursting shells added to the artistic effects. 
Only the wounded seemed out of place, and 
there were very few of those. 

We feasted royally in the officers' mess, and 
toasted one another in purple vodka which 
was pure alcohol; there is nothing else left. 
A doctor arrived from Odessa just in time 
for dessert, and brought a box of sweets and 
the latest French books. Afterwards we 
turned in and slept most royally, more care- 
free than we had lain for many weeks. 

At sunrise we were accompanied on a tour 
of inspection, and not even a hidden garbage- 
heap obtruded to spoil the wonderful atmo- 
sphere of a clean sunlit world. Even the 
pony stretchers managed to look cheerful, 
because the beasts are covered with white 
sheepskins, and all the sheets, blankets 


and pillow-cases were not only white, but 
clean. All harness gleamed and jingled, the 
carts were solid, and the canvas coverings 
new. Those soldiers who filed away past us 
towards the distance and the firing line sang 
harmoniously in cadences, and their officers 
drove with them in shining little victorias 
where even the varnish was undimmed. A 
priest accompanies all units, and inarches 
either with the men, or leads the head of the 
column on horseback side by side with the 
general or chief commanding officer. 

I felt almost shy of distributing the little 
presents which had been prepared with such 
infinite care far away in the turmoil of Jassy, 
but those nice men gave uncouth shouts, 
which were much more expressive than 
mumbled thanks when I gave the cigarettes. 
They are, one and all, just like overgrown 
children, and have the smile of little babies 
at the lined corners of their eyes. Rou- 
mania will certainly be left with a legacy of 
fair, blue-eyecl children; the idylls obtruded 
pleasantly wherever we had the indiscretion 
to wander. But the Russians are a splendid 
race, and their blood can but strengthen and 
invigorate a Latin and often gipsy strain. 


Alas ! the return journey, which traced for 
us yet another road, cast some shadows over 
the brightness of all we had found to praise. 
There has been time enough to trim and 
polish only the fringes of such an army, and, 
gradually, things turned from white to grey, 
then back to brown. We passed through 
deserted villages where decayed carcasses of 
beasts had stained the road. Their streets 
were piled in pyramids where the snow had 
but half melted from the mud-heaps, and 
refuse strewed the whole country-side. Those 
troops we met aped travelling gipsies; their 
creaking carts dangled pots and pans from 
harness ropes and torn canvas covers. All 
uniforms were rain-washed and tattered 
brown and blue. Then would come a 
cluster of hovels, heralded by a sign-post: 
"No troops are to be billeted here"; some 
one would whisper: "Typhus — infection/' 
and we would whirl onwards, leaving in the 
dust clouds a sad loneliness of mud, lean 
beasts, and children aged before their time 
who never raised their sunken eyes to stare. 

The trip had lasted just seventy hours, yet 
we felt that all the surroundings of Jassy 
ought by rights to have changed completely 


for our return. We were completely disil- 

Later. — There has been a mild Cabinet 
crisis while we were away, on the questions 
of private and Government property and the 
future of Roumanian peasants after the war. 
But the Government still stands firm. 

A good deal of revolutionary disaffection is 
making itself felt amongst the Russian troops 
in Jassy, who have nothing to do. The 
officers are rather in awe of their men, who 
seem to have a gentle upper hand in the 
management of their own affairs. Every 
division, battalion, company, etc., has its own 
committee of soldiers, which cuts it off from 
all pretence of military discipline as we know 
it, but which manages, nevertheless, to keep 
admirable order. Unfortunately it is rather 
obvious that the only thing which they ac- 
tively desire is a peace that would allow 
them to return to their own homes and put 
their own country in order. Red flags wave 
all over the town, and there have been mass 
meetings advertised with pamphlets an- 
nouncing that : "We want peace without con- 
fiscation of territories and without war in- 
demnities.' ' All this is disturbing; not that 


it in any way alters the course of the war, but 
it cannot help lengthening the struggle. I 
am afraid that there is little hope now of a 
big spring offensive. Of course the optimists 
amongst us maintain that this is nothing but 
froth at the top of the bottle and that there 
is good wine underneath. Certainly the men, 
who, after all, could do as they liked with 
this town, are very tractable. They sang 
hymns as they marched towards the public 
square where the meetings were held, and 
were not even a little drunk. We hear that 
they invited the French soldiers to come, and 
that a non-commissioned officer who was "all 
there" replied: "We should be delighted to 
attend, but, unless you get us leave from our 
officers, shall not be able to do so, as it would 
be against the regulations. We hope, how- 
ever, that you will make the request. ' ' Need- 
less to say, the Russians took the hint and 
didn't. The Russian privates took a red 
cockade to their general in command, and 
said: "We know you won't wear it, but we 
bring it as a sign of our friendship. ' ' He re- 
plied : ' l You are quite wrong. I will wear it 
on the day when we can speak of Victory." 
Oh dear ! If I were a Russian general now, 


what a big man I should be. I'd pin a red 
cockade to every officer 's tunic and tie a scar- 
let sash round my own, and say to my men: 
"You are in the right. We join you — now 
lead on and fight to win." They are such 
children, these big, gentle, hairy men, easily 
led and most impossibly driven. 

The shadow of disease is lifting a little. 
Practical advantage has been taken of this 
interval of inanition, and large quantities of 
necessary stores arrive daily from Russia. 
And the food difficulty has become insignifi- 
cant. The town is no longer trebly over- 
crowded — just very full. A great number of 
private enterprises for the relief of the coun- 
try population have sprung into being. These 
work along orderly systems, and are not too 
exaggeratedly lacking in funds. All things 
official are naturally reserved for the Red 
Cross, which is now efficiently organised. All 
that the country needs is time and material : 
capabilities and a moderate enthusiasm are 
decidedly here, but have not had a fair chance 
of demonstrating hitherto. Every eye is fixed 
on Russia, because the only thing that we 
know for certain is, that whatever waves 
flood our northern ally will engulf us too. I 


personally have such a profound confidence 
in all things Russian, now that I have seen 
with my own eyes what they are capable of 
accomplishing, that I refuse to entertain the 
supposition that they can diverge towards 
wrong channels. But they are not made of 
stuff that can be influenced by harrying. 

Later. — We have had another unexpected 
treat in the shape of a second visit of inspec- 
tion — this time to the British and French 
Red Cross Hospitals near the firing line. Our 
own was simply splendid. It is the unit 
which has received the largest amount of 
English stores, and a great many of the ap- 
pendages were of stereotyped pattern. 
Nevertheless, we marvelled at the ingenuity 
displayed in supplementing those things 
which were unavoidably lacking. We saw the 
whole system at work in low wooden build- 
ings painted white. All the furniture was 
home-made and enamelled; there were even 
screens which folded tidily and sported a big 
Maltese Cross on the opening panel. White 
walls were finished with a dado of Roumanian 
colours, and matched benches and beds of 
smooth white wood. The blankets of soft 
British wool were folded so as to leave upper- 


most the quiet Red Cross of St. John. The 
whole staff is English, and is worshipped by 
the men. At Eastertime the latter bribed the 
night watchman to smuggle in Easter greens, 
and the nurses woke to find their dining- 
room wreathed on Easter morning and a tree 
on the breakfast-table, where swung a heart- 
shaped pendant of fresh violets. The sur- 
geons received a telegram of " Heartfelt 
gratitude for the kindness shown to us Rou- 
manian soldiers." 

We saw the convalescents planting seeds of 
flowers and vegetables out of doors, and 
noticed that all wore wooden sandals made 
by their own artisans. In every other hos- 
pital the men go barefoot. They have built 
a pigsty and a cowshed, because one of the 
nurses is a farmer's daughter and competent 
to care for livestock. The staff goes out and 
raids the country at intervals in the St. 
John's ambulance car for food that runs. I 
never met a nicer, happier spirit in any place 
where people have suffered. The two English 
surgeons live in a big private house belong- 
ing to an old lady, who feels that Heaven 
has sent her two nice big sons and who adores 
them both. They are very good to her, and 


take it in turns to sit up late at night and 
talk to her, as they have discovered that she 
loves it. She is very rich, and has developed 
a proprietary interest in the whole hospital, 
and keeps it supplied with little luxuries. 

The country on every side was pasture-land, 
and the background of all we saw was 
emerald green. 

Later. — We are going through another 
local crisis, this time a violent attack on the 
Government. It is idle to speculate upon 
what would happen here if it went out. That 
the control should be forcibly upset again, 
just when it has really taken hold and is 
doing well, would be a disastrous pity. After 
all, what does it matter who governs a coun- 
try so long as the country improves and 
thrives more visibly every day! The restora- 
tion of order that has come to pass has been 
so imperceptibly born that it is only in quiet 
moments, when one has an opportunity to 
visualise things as they were a few short 
weeks ago, that one can appreciate the stu- 
pendous amount that has been accomplished. 
When solid foundations have been laid it 
would appear sheer lunacy to hunt out a new 
building site. Patriotism has always existed 


here, and self-confidence is just coming. Suc- 
cessful action will be the fruit of both if 
things are left to work out their own salva- 
tion. At a big military review the other day, 
a small boy of six, dressed in full military 
uniform, was hoisted on to a table and deliv- 
ered a patriotic speech to the assembled 
crowd of soldiers, officers and generals. The 
finish was curiously Eastern: one remembers 
how a slight boyish figure, drowned in blood, 
wails a falsetto introduction to the Passion 
Plays of Persia and Turkey before the 
martyrdom of Hussein and Hassan is por- 
trayed on the stage. The enthusiasm here 
was quite as flaming as one had ever felt it in 
the countries of Mohammed, and some of the 
soldiers cried. The idea is but the crudest 
principle of nature. Man has ever been 
stirred by woman, and nothing can move a 
woman so spontaneously as a child. 

This whole city gives the impression of 
having started now to work in earnest. We 
are quietly, reasonably and systematically 
preparing for war. And it is dull work. 
These political agitations are purely the re- 
sult of inaction upon awakened minds. Had 
we ammunition now and the original enthusi- 


asm for conquest, I am certain that 
the Germans would be scattered out of 
Wallachia like chaff before the wind. Exist- 
ing circumstances are so wonderfully com- 
fortable compared to all that we survived in 
the winter that we stand in great danger of 
becoming too contented to move again before 
the war is over. Individuals feel it them- 
selves. We women have no work to do, and 
the inaction is paralysing. I laze all day in 
a spring-time garden where birds twitter and 
crickets sing. Then I go to bed and sleep 
badly because I overslept all day. Every now 
and then a busy morning threatens when 
trains of Red Cross material steam in from 
Russia. But an organising presence has be- 
come almost superfluous. There is transport 
galore, and all the subordinates know their 

We indulge in occasional motor picnics 
outside the town, and have noticed that the 
peasants are gradually losing their hunted 
look and are beginning to fill their rags of 
clothes. This is thanks to the good and effi- 
cient work done quietly by the relief commis- 

It is hard to decide whether it is the 


warmth and sunshine which has given us such 
semblance of settled peace, or whether only a 
little order, a little time and a few skilled 
workmen would have assured it to us straight 
on from the beginning. 


May 1917. — We are told that we stand 
upon the brink of action. Certain it is that 
at no time since she entered the war has 
Roumania stood to the fight so well prepared 
as now. In retrospect, it is wonderful to 
realise all that has been accomplished despite 
inexperience and shortage of material. The 
word "starvation" makes us smile nowadays, 
for we are almost surfeited by the luxury of 
supplies brought by regular transport sys- 
tems from Russia. Further, the whole un- 
dulating surroundings of Jassy are cloaked 
green with growing corn. A peaceful surety of 
general well-being envelops us. My little de- 
serted garden is pushing up all sorts of 
flowers whose impetus was their own, for they 
sowed themselves, blown hither by winds 
from the woods. Roses are budding regard- 
less of horticultural rules, for wistaria has 
only just begun to uncurl its tendrils and 
promises no flower. I think that it must have 



got discouraged at finding no spring to 
glorify. We missed that season altogether this 
year and leapt from winter into summer, so 
I take it that the wistaria is sulking now. The 
dust lies ankle-deep on the roads, but some- 
how it feels quite different from the disease- 
laden powder of autumn. So much disinfec- 
tant has been strewn just lately that the very 
air brings whiffs of it to strengthen 
the contrast with perfume of flowers and 
herbs. We have been able to make a little 
jam with cherries and gooseberries brought 
from outlying gardens. Also some mar- 
malade as a result of a gift of oranges from 
Odessa. I sacrificed at least two future win- 
ter breakfasts by succumbing to the tempta- 
tion of eating one when they arrived. It was 
the best thing that I ever tasted. 

It seems hard lines on the new Roumanian 
army that their Russian allies should be in 
trouble now, as it is difficult to believe that a 
country like Russia can get under way again 
quickly. The evolution must surely take 
years. It is curious to contrast the present 
attitude of mind in Russia with the one that 
has gradually crept over the Roumanian pop- 
ulation. When they first went forth to fight, 


I doubt whether one man out of ten knew the 
real reason of his going. In general their 
enthusiasm was at that time merely for war, 
for the desire to kill had blown over their 
country. But now they have formed their 
ideal of a fight for Peace, and seeing their 
country tortured has made them understand 
that they love the soil and want to make it 
well. They love their English allies, and it 
has been a pleasant discovery to find in them 
only augmentation of loyalty and trust. The 
army is well fed now, and well clothed; the 
men have had time to rest, to look back- 
wards, and to remember where they went 
wrong. They have had a chance to learn 
which of their officers to follow and those 
amongst their comrades who require to be 
led. One has only to watch them march by 
nowadays to mark the difference in their car- 
riage and the concerted drumming of their 
hobnailed boots. And they have borrowed 
cadenced songs from the Russians, who sing 
no longer now that they no longer march. 

Needless to say, there is much that still 
remains to be done. The army no longer 
starves for the necessities, such as ammuni- 
tion and sanitary supplies, but it hungers for 


delicacies and details. These will all come, 
in time, I suppose, just as the other and more 
immediate requirements came; but it would 
be a tragic mistake to launch forth again 
without them. The Roumanians, luckily, 
realise the danger of such action, and their 
leaders are too clever to stumble into the 
pitfall of foolhardiness which always lurks 
for those who have lately escaped from dan- 
ger. But the army, as a whole, is straining 
to take the offensive, and it is so wonderful 
that the men should feel thus after all that 
they have suffered that it seems almost cruel 
to tie their hands. English and French offi- 
cers alike agree that a capital fighting force 
has grown up, no one quite knows how, out 
of the demoralisation of the last few months, 
and it is impossible to give a sufficiency 
of credit to the leaders who have built it 

The King has undoubtedly proved himself 
a great man in this war. Few could have 
sunk all personal interest and sympathies 
before pure patriotism of the most altruistic 
kind as he has done, and I think that the 
power of the throne, even in this century of 
socialistic tendencies, makes itself felt here 


now as would have seemed impossible a bare 
two years ago. Be it also remembered that 
he has had to help him a woman who is 
beautiful and brilliant, and who is, besides, 
his Queen. 

It is a disconcerting testimony to the 
pettiness of human nature to be obliged to 
record that now, after all the sufferings that 
we have witnessed and which we, ourselves, 
escaped by just a miracle, the only thing that 
actively disturbs our tranquillity should be a 
plague of flies ! I simply cannot begin to 
describe the extent to which they worry us. 
A few fly-papers saved from amongst our 
original stores from home have saved our 
reason. I bought yards and yards of the 
wedding veiling which peasant women use 
and nailed it outside all the windows, but 
even so, after two or three hours, my papers 
were black. People come and beg most 
piteously for "Just one paper.' 9 And when 
I feel generous I give it to them, and then 
wake up in the night and regret my action. 
Now that my stock is low, I have invented a 
substitute of melted resin and corrosive sub- 
limate, mixed with a little oil to prevent the 
mixture hardening. However, I was only able 


now as would have seemed impossible a bare 
two years ago. Be it also remembered that 
he has had to help him a woman who is 
beautiful and brilliant, and who is, besides, 
his Queen. 

It is a disconcerting testimony to the 
pettiness of human nature to be obliged to 
record that now, after all the sufferings that 
we have witnessed and which we, ourselves, 
escaped by just a miracle, the only thing that 
actively disturbs our tranquillity should be a 
plague of flies ! I simply cannot begin to 
describe the extent to which they worry us. 
A few fly-papers saved from amongst our 
original stores from home have saved our 
reason. I bought yards and yards of the 
wedding veiling which peasant women use 
and nailed it outside all the windows, but 
even so, after two or three hours, my papers 
were black. People come and beg most 
piteously for "Just one paper.' ' And when 
I feel generous I give it to them, and then 
wake up in the night and regret my action. 
Now that my stock is low, I have invented a 
substitute of melted resin and corrosive sub- 
limate, mixed with a little oil to prevent the 
mixture hardening. However, I was only able 


to obtain two kilos of resin, and had to send 
to Russia for that. We had one small result- 
ing tragedy from my ingenuity: for a little 
while we have owned two baby jackdaws, who 
hop about all over the house, and one of them 
stuck to a fly-paper. Such a turmoil as rose 
was never heard before. They are huge 
little birds, very amusing, affectionate and 
friendly, who cannot yet eat alone. They 
fell out of their nest and adopted us, to be- 
come our constant delight. I never believed 
that the tale of the Jackdaw of Rheims was 
anything but a fairy story before, but I must 
confess that these little beasts steal every- 
thing that shines. 

It has been interesting to discover what 
solace can be found in days of the most 
anxious uncertainty by contact with things 
young and care-free. All the English chil- 
dren were sent home months ago, and we miss 
their atmosphere so horribly that anything 
small and happy finds welcome here. I have 
noticed that Roumanians who took but the 
most cursory interest in a nursery world 
before they went to war have become almost 
ostentatiously parental lately. The whole 
aspect of Jassy has lost the impression it 


used to give of having been a most ill-chosen 
picnic site where it had very lately and 
copiously rained. We can almost flatter our- 
selves that we live in a flourishing military 
centre. French blue and grey and English 
khaki almost predominate about the streets 
now that the Rusolan units have moved into 
scattered canvas cities. For it is significant 
of new and extremely salutary military disci- 
pline to note that it is only the officers who 
wander except when actually off duty. I 
never could have credited the possibility of 
Roumania boasting a town that did not an- 
nounce itself as primarily built for pleasure, 
yet, nowadays, not even a Bosche caserne 
could look more business-like. It gives an 
overwhelming sense of satisfaction to drive 
past the big buildings lately built for storage, 
and to recall the wastage lying on their sites 
some bare weeks ago. One or two restau- 
rants have opened and do a roaring trade, 
and the shops have begun to sport tentative 
wares in their windows. 

Our own house is no longer the "English 
Hotel.' ' We only have as guests those 
strangers we want to see. Because the hotels 
have become more or less normal, and have 


been known to promise a room for a certain 
date, and offer it, all prepared when that date 
came, with linen, hot water and a bed. Local 
papers make their appearance daily on our 
breakfast-tables, and tell the news of the 
world in the same fashion as do their big- 
brothers in England— that is to say, they keep 
us interested and teach ns just nothing at all. 
A theatre has opened in the centre of the 
town, and onr charity matinees have tried to 
rival the accounts of London. Proportion- 
ately astonishing was the financial profit. It 
appears that, even in Eoumania, there are 
still a few rich men. Naturally those land- 
owners whose property lies in Moldavia have 
accrued to themselves worldly goods which 
their Wallachian brothers lost, and the credit 
of the country is as good as is possible when 
the whole machinery has been disorganised. 

Further, for the first time in history there 
is real understanding between the peasant 
and his landlord— still embryonic, naturally, 
but nevertheless latent and productive of a 
sympathetic atmosphere. I have come across 
hundreds of cases of unostentatious charity 
just lately, and the Roumanian peasant is a 


very loyal, grateful soul, who, like all of us, 
finds it pleasant to be spoilt. 

Life became so monotonous when passed in 
a continual state of tension which never knew 
the satisfaction of an actual happening to 
give it raison d'etre, that we have become 
rather sociable and have begun to give little 
dinner parties. Luckily we can listen to good 
music, because there is genius in the race, 
and I have garnered many pleasant memories 
of temporary oblivion to the crude realities 
of life brought by cadences which seem, in 
retrospect, to echo from a half-forgotten 
world. Foretaste of a peace that shall be 
lasting comes in the golden evenings, which 
see us motor southwards through pine woods 
and along roads of transfigured dust towards 
the little villages which only a miracle has 
saved from ruin. Almost invariably we find 
some tunester whose instinct has made him 
wander home, where once, before he went to 
war, his music taught all young things to 
dance. Joie de vivre dies hard, and he usu- 
ally only requires to be found before he starts 
to play. And youth, which cannot die, col- 
lects and catches rhythm which we are not 
allowed to know, because it lies in a future 


which is not ours. Just to watch, however, 
brings us sufficiency of contentment. 

June 1917. — I have been wondering 
whether any one would care to read this 
diary. Roumania is deserving of notice and 
appreciation. She has proved herself, and in 
the greatest manner which does not savour 
of ostentation. All that has been lately ac- 
complished spells silent work and no small 
devotion to what has grown in this our cen- 
tury to be the greatest cause. Strangers who 
had knowledge and experience, who came to 
put machinery in motion, remain here, it is 
true. But they stay to work, and are no 
longer required to lead. The army trusts 
its officers, the nation appreciates its King. 
And we outsiders feel that we want to go 
home and tell the family of Allies that our 
little brother Roumania has grown into a man 
of whom we have reason to be very proud. 


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